Outbreak of Salmonella Infections Linked to Cavi Brand Whole, Fresh Papayas

Final Update

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Published September 12, 2019 at 11:00 AM ET

This outbreak appears to be over. Consumers no longer need to avoid eating Cavi brand whole papayas imported from Mexico. Always choose and handle fruit safely to help prevent foodborne illness. Wash hands and food preparation surfaces before and after handling fruit.

CDC, public health and regulatory officials in several states, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration investigated a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Uganda infections linked to Cavi brand whole, fresh papayas distributed by Agroson’s LLC.

Advice to Consumers, Restaurants, and Retailers
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At A Glance
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This outbreak appears to be over. Consumers no longer need to avoid eating Cavi brand whole papayas imported from Mexico. Always choose and handle fruit safely to help prevent foodborne illness.

  • Wash your hands, kitchen utensils, and food preparation surfaces, including cutting boards and countertops, before and after handling fruits.
  • Wash fruitsexternal icon thoroughly under running water before eating, cutting, or cooking, unless the package says the contents have been washed.
  • Keep fruits separate from other foods that could contaminate them, such as raw meat and seafood.
  • Refrigerate fruits that you have cut up, peeled, or cooked within 2 hours. Refrigerate within 1 hour if the temperature outside is above 90°F. Chill them at 40°F or below in a clean container.
Final Outbreak Information
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  • As of September 12, 2019, this outbreak appears to be over.
  • Consumers no longer need to avoid eating Cavi brand papayas imported from Mexico. The papayas that were linked to the illnesses in this outbreak are no longer on the market.
  • A total of 81 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Uganda were reported from nine states.
  • Epidemiologic and traceback evidence indicated that Cavi brand whole, fresh papayas imported from Mexico and distributed by Agroson’s LLC were the likely source of this outbreak.
Symptoms of Salmonella Infection
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  • Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps 6 hours to 4 days after being exposed to the bacteria.
  • The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most people recover without treatment.
  • In some people, the illness may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the bloodstream and then to other places in the body.
  • Children younger than 5 years, pregnant women, adults 65 and older, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to have severe illness.
Investigation Details

September 12, 2019

CDC, public health and regulatory officials in several states, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)external icon investigated a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Uganda infections.

A total of 81 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Uganda were reported from nine states. A list of the states and the number of cases in each is on the Map of Reported Cases page.

Illnesses started on dates ranging from January 14, 2019, to July 16, 2019. Most illnesses occurred since April 2019. Ill people ranged in age from less than one year to 90 years, with a median age of 62. Of ill people, 54% were female. Of 51 people with available information, 27 (53%) were hospitalized. No deaths attributed to Salmonella were reported. Of 48 ill people with available information, 31 (65%) were of Hispanic ethnicity.

Whole genome sequencing analysis of 66 bacterial isolates from ill people predicted antibiotic resistance to streptomycin and sulfisoxazole. Testing of four clinical isolates using standard antibiotic susceptibility testing methods by CDC’s National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) showed one isolate with resistance to streptomycin and three isolates with no resistance. This resistance does not affect the choice of antibiotic used to treat most people.

Investigation of the Outbreak

Epidemiologic and traceback evidence indicates that Cavi brand whole, fresh papayas imported from Mexico were the likely source of this outbreak.

In interviews, ill people answered questions about the foods they ate and other exposures in the week before they became ill. Of 34 people who were interviewed, 25 (74%) reported eating papayas. This proportion was significantly higher than the proportion found on a survey pdf icon[PDF – 787 KB] of healthy Hispanic people in the months of January through June in which 13% reported eating papayas in the week before they were interviewed.

Two ill people in Florida and one ill person in Texas reported eating papayas during travel to the Northeast in the week before they got sick. This provided additional evidence that papayas were the likely source of this outbreak.

The FDA and regulatory officials in several states collected records from grocery stores where ill people reported buying papayas. These records showed that Cavi brand papayas, distributed by Agroson’s LLC of The Bronx, New York, N.Y., were sold at multiple grocery stores where ill people bought papayas.

As of September 12, 2019, this outbreak appears to be over.

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