N0. 5 – Salmonella Outbreak in Norway Sourced to Watermelons
A recent Salmonella outbreak in Norway has caused at least 18 reported infections and is believed to be caused by consuming contaminated watermelons. So far, the outbreak has required 8 of the total 18 people with reported infections to be hospitalized. Of the total 18 Salmonella Typhimurium infections, 13 people have been interviewed, and all 13 have reported consuming watermelon within the same timeline, the majority of illnesses beginning near the end of June through mid-July 2022. Because watermelons typically only last on shelves for 3 to 4 weeks, the Norwegian Food Safety Authority does not belief it is likely for any of the contaminated melons to still be on the market. The Salmonella bacteria was most likely living on the rind of the melons and entered the pulp when the fruit was opened.
The outbreak is spread throughout the country of Norway in various counties, with 6 cases in Møre and Romsdal, 6 in Westland, 2 in Trøndelag, 2 in Troms and Finnmark, 1 in Rogaland and 1 in Innlandet. Municipal superintendents from the effected counties are currently collaborating with the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, the Norwegian Food Safety Authority, and the Veterinary Institute to investigate the source of the outbreak and track down all contaminated products.
To avoid contracting Salmonella and other foodborne illness causing bacteria from melons, it is recommended to throughly wash the outside of the melon with soap and hot water, to avoid buying and consuming melons with perforations to the outside, to wash surfaces and hands after handling melons, and to refrigerate all sliced melon.
Statistically, for every Salmonella infection reported, there are approximately 30 more cases of salmonellosis not reported. Salmonella Typhimurium is a strain of Salmonella that causes gastroenteritis when ingested, most commonly consumed through contaminated food or water. According to the CDC, Salmonella symptoms typically present as diarrhea which can be bloody, fever, and stomach cramps, though some also experience nausea, headaches, and vomiting. After ingesting Salmonella bacteria, symptoms predominantly begin within 6 hours to 6 days and subside within 4 to 7 days. Salmonella infections customarily do not require treatment, though antibiotics can be given for severe cases. People with lowered immune systems, infants, and adults 65 and older should contact their healthcare provider if they believe they are suffering from a Salmonella infection to avoid further complications.