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OHA investigating 76 Salmonella cases tied to Calif. red onions

Red onions FDA
Food and Drug Administration
Red onions

Nationwide outbreak; 18 of Oregon's cases hospitalized; no deaths

PORTLAND, Ore. (KTVZ) — State health officials late Friday warned people not to eat onions from Thomson International, Inc. of Bakersfield, Calif., after 76 people in 13 Oregon counties fell ill with matching strains of Salmonella bacteria. Eighteen cases have been hospitalized, but none have died.

Epidemiologists at the Oregon Health Authority Public Health Division say the Oregon cases are part of a nationwide outbreak that has sickened more than 400 people in about 40 states, as well as consumers in Canada.

U.S. and Canadian public health officials implicated consumption of red onions, and the federal Food and Drug Administration traced the onions to Thomson International, Inc.

Although red onions are the likely source, Thomson will be recalling all varieties of onions that could have been cross-contaminated.

"People who believe they’ve gotten diarrhea from consuming red onions might want to contact a health care provider," said Emilio DeBess, D.V.M., an epidemiologist at the Oregon Public Health Division's Acute and Communicable Disease Prevention Section. "However, most people with salmonellosis will recover without antibiotics."

People who have eaten red onions but not gotten sick do not need to seek or notify a health care provider, OHA said.

"If you have any of these potentially contaminated onions, discard them and wash your hands afterwards," DeBess advised.

Each year, 400 to 500 cases of salmonellosis are reported in Oregon. Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps one to seven days after exposure. The illness usually lasts four to seven days.

Although most people recover without treatment, some have severe infections. Infants, elderly people and those with weakened immune systems are more likely to develop severe illness. Salmonella may spread from the intestines to the bloodstream and then to other body sites and, in rare cases, can be deadly.

For information about the national Salmonella outbreak, visit

For information about the recall of onions, visit

For general information about Salmonella, visit the CDC website at

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  1. Lets stop trying to minimize the threat here- Salmonella can be particularly deadly for at risk elderly as well as children- and there is no telling how salmonella may react with the corona- and for all we know- it is these red California onions that have caused an uptick in recent deaths around here.

    Clearly it’s time to go all hysterical and ban all imported vegetables from California- we won’t take the risk- we don’t need their bacteria infested vegetables anyway- we grow our own bacteria free onions in eastern Oregon- where is the Governor on this- the public needs direction- how do I recognize salmonella infected onions ??? Where’s the test ? Where’s the contact tracing for anyone who may have passed on some tainted tater salad ?

    Good gawd- how can she allow this potential deadly threat to come across our borders- She insists that California is our friend- so why this unprecedented attack ???

    The woman is a complete failure- asleep at the switch as she tries to pawn off responsibility to everyone but her office !

      1. I hope it doesn’t rain tomorrow either- or all those folks that Kate Brown put on the streets- into foreclosure- on welfare- living in their cars… are gonna get wet ! Maybe you can rally up some of yer buddies and take some of that Z21 cash out there and buy em all an umbrella or two.

        Sign the recall- put people back to work- open the schools- end this horror story now ! Remember “no action- is action” !

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