Aug. 28, 2012 at 2:59 PM ET
Health officials in the U.S. and Canada are investigating a possible outbreak of salmonella poisoning from mangoes imported from Mexico that may have sickened more than 100 people.
At least 73 people in California have been infected with a strain of salmonella Braenderup linked to mangoes, said Matt Conens, a spokesman for the California Department of Public Health. Of those, about 67 percent reported eating the fruit.
Those cases are in addition to 22 illnesses from the same strain of salmonella confirmed last weekend by officials with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. And, in late July, six cases of salmonella Braenderup possibly linked to mangoes were reported in residents of Washington state, said Donn Moyer, a health department spokesman.
Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are working with state officials to determine the cause and scope of the outbreak, said spokeswoman Lola Russell. The genetic fingerprint of the cases in the U.S. is the same as that found in the cases in Canada, "therefore, mangoes are the likely source," she added.
Neither the CDC nor California health officials have confirmed a recall of contaminated mangoes, or named specific brands.
"We will update the public when more information becomes available," Russell said.
But Larry Nienkirk, founder of Splendid Products, a distributor in Burlingame, Calif., said his firm has issued a voluntary recall of Daniella brand mangoes imported from Mexico, which are shipped to grocery stores and other retailers nationwide. Nienkirk declined to estimate the volume of mangoes recalled since contamination was detected in mid-July.
"Our thoughts are with anybody who has been affected by this," said Nienkirk, whose firm has specialized in mangoes for 37 years. "We're doing everything we can to get to the bottom of this."
Canadian officials warned consumers last week not to eat the Daniella brand mangoes.
Canadian officials said the mangoes there were sold as individual fruit, with stickers bearing the PLU #4959. They were sold at retail locations between July 12, 2012 and Aug. 14, 2012.
Health officials in Washington state and California are continuing to investigate the apparent outbreak.
Salmonella poisoning can cause fever, headache, vomiting nausea, abdominal cramping and diarrhea. In people with weakened immune systems, including children and the elderly, it can cause serious illness and death.