Signs of salmonella infection include diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps between six hours and six days after exposure to the bacteria
A salmonella outbreak linked to onions has expanded to 43 US states and Canada, prompting a recall from a producer in California and various grocery chains, the New York Times reported.
Salmonella infection is a common bacterial disease that affects the intestinal tract. Salmonella bacteria typically live in animal and human intestines and are shed through faeces. Humans become infected most frequently through contaminated water or food.
As of Sunday, there had been 640 reported salmonella cases in the US, including 85 hospitalizations, tied to the outbreak, the US Food and Drug Administration said.
The Public Health Agency of Canada reported 239 cases with 29 hospitalizations as of Friday. No deaths have been reported in Canada or the United States.
The FDA identified the likely source of the outbreak as red onions from Thomson International, a produce supplier in Bakersfield. Last week, the producer recalled red, yellow, white and sweet onions shipped since May 1 because of the risk of contamination. The FDA has started an investigation at the company.
The onions were distributed to wholesalers, restaurants and retail stores across the country and in Canada, Thomson said last week. The producer declined to comment on Sunday.
Signs of salmonella infection include diarrhoea, fever and stomach cramps between six hours and six days after exposure to the bacteria. Those under age 5, those over 65 and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to experience severe illness.
In some cases, the infection can spread from the intestines to other parts of the body and require hospitalization.
Salmonella can be spread when the hands, surfaces and tools of food handlers are not clean, and when people eat raw or undercooked food, the FDA said. It can also be spread to people from animals.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging anyone with symptoms of salmonella poisoning to contact a doctor, write down what they ate the week before they became sick, report the illness to the health department and communicate with health investigators about their illness.