published Saturday, August 18th, 2012

Salmonella strain sends three Tennesseans to hospitals

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A salmonella outbreak linked to cantaloupes grown in Indiana has sent three people in Tennessee to the hospital, and three other people are infected.

The identified cases are spread randomly across the state, not clustered in any one county or region, according to Shelley Walker with the Tennessee Department of Health.

The salmonella strain, which has caused illness in several states, has been linked to cantaloupes grown on one farm in southwestern Indiana, according to a news release from the health department

Tennesseans should ask about the origin of recently purchased cantaloupes and discard any from that area, the release said. Consumers can check the sticker on the cantaloupe or contact the store where they bought it to find out where came from.

Raw produce such as fruits and vegetables should be thoroughly rinsed before they are prepared or eaten, the release recommended.

Anyone who gets sick after eating cantaloupes should see a health care provider, the release said.

Salmonella infections are a common cause of foodborne illness, resulting in diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps within a couple of days of infection, the release said.

Tennessee Department of Agriculture officials are contacting retailers and distributors in Tennessee who may have received cantaloupes grown in southwestern Indiana, the release said.

Lee Pittman, president of Chattanooga-based Dixie Produce, said the company has not distributed any cantaloupes from the southwestern Indiana area.

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