PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Iowa has been added to the list of states that received contaminated melons linked to a salmonella outbreak.
There is no indication that the contaminated melons is in the Philadelphia area as the states impacted so far are in the Midwest and South, but scientists say more salmonella outbreaks are expected this time of year.
The latest salmonella outbreak is linked to pre-cut melon sold in plastic containers.
Salmonella is one of the most common types of food poisoning caused by bacteria.
“Most patients with salmonella actually don’t need to be treated and will have a self-limiting course,” explained Dr. Steven Gordon of the Cleveland Clinic. “But it can also cause other consequences, including consequences outside of the gastrointestinal track, arthritis, reactive arthritis and things of this nature.”
Salmonella symptoms that usually show up in 12 to 72 hours can last anywhere from four to seven days.
It’s usually caused by eating meat or poultry that’s been under cooked or from food that’s contaminated in the handling process — cross contamination from cutting boards or counter tops.
“When you prepare your food, such as the raw hamburger, are you cutting the vegetables and then maybe cutting the meat with the same utensil without cleaning? That’s what we say is cross contamination,” Dr. Gordon explained.
Salmonella is more common in the summer months than in the winter and it is also more likely to affect children.
In severe cases, salmonella bacteria can get into the bloodstream and travel to vital organs. That’s when antibiotics are needed.
Every year, salmonella makes about 1.2 million people sick and 23,000 end up hospitalized.
In addition to food, people can contract the infection from touching farm animals and reptiles.
Hand washing is one of the best preventive measures for salmonella.