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Health Highlights: April 6, 2012

Salmonella Outbreak Affects 100 People in 19 States: CDC Allergic Reactions Spur Recall of Odwalla Chocolate Drink Turtle-Linked Salmonella Sickens 72 in 17 States: CDC

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Salmonella Outbreak Affects 100 People in 19 States: CDC

A outbreak of salmonella has now affected 100 people across 19 states, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported Friday.

According to the agency, between Jan. 28 and March 25 salmonella infections linked to the outbreak have been reported in Alabama (2 cases), Arkansas (1), Connecticut (5), District of Columbia (2), Georgia (4), Illinois (9), Louisiana (2), Maryland (10), Massachusetts (4), Mississippi (1), Missouri (1), New Jersey (7), New York (23), North Carolina (2), Pennsylvania (3), Rhode Island (4), South Carolina (3), Texas (3), Virginia (5) and Wisconsin (9).

So far 10 people have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported, the CDC said.

All of the infections have been from a strain of salmonella called Salmonella Bareilly. The CDC had previously tied the outbreak to sushi/sashimi, but no one food source has yet been conclusively pinpointed as the source of illness.

Symptoms of salmonella infection include diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. Most people recover within 4 to 7 days without treatment, but some cases are deadly if not treated with antibiotics. The elderly, the very young and people with compromised immune systems are most at risk of a severe illness from salmonella infection.

If you suspect you have eaten contaminated food, the CDC recommends contacting your doctor. "CDC will update the public on the progress of this investigation as information becomes available," the agency said.


Allergic Reactions Spur Recall of Odwalla Chocolate Drink

Odwalla Chocolate Protein Monster beverages are being recalled after four people with peanut allergies suffered severe allergic reactions after drinking the product.

The recall covers 12-ounce and 32-ounce bottles with "enjoy by" dates to and including May 23, 2012. The bottles were distributed nationwide, the Associated Press reported.

People with peanut and/or tree nut allergies may be at risk for a serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if the consume the drink, Odwalla Inc. said.

The Coca-Cola-owned company said the drink contains no peanut or tree nut ingredients and the company is working with the Food and Drug Administration to investigate the cause of these allergic reactions, the AP reported.


Turtle-Linked Salmonella Sickens 72 in 17 States: CDC

Salmonella outbreaks linked to small pet turtles have sickened 72 people in 17 states, according to an investigation update released Thursday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Fifty-nine percent of the cases involve children 10 or younger. Twelve people have been hospitalized but no deaths have been reported.

The number of cases in the affected states are: Arizona (2), California (12), Georgia (1), Indiana (1), Kentucky (1), Massachusetts (3), Maryland (6), Michigan (1), Minnesota (1), North Carolina (1), New Jersey (6), New Mexico (3), New York (21), Pennsylvania (7), Texas (4), Virginia (1), and Vermont (1).

The CDC investigation found that the outbreaks involving three strains of salmonella were caused by exposure to small pet turtles (shell length less than 4 inches) or their environments, such as water from turtle habitats.

Ninety-two percent of the people with salmonella illness had small turtles and 43 percent of them said they bought the turtles from street vendors.

The CDC said turtles with a shell length of less than 4 inches should not be bought or given as gifts.

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