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76 salmonella cases in Oregon linked to red onions

The outbreak has sickened more than 400 people in about 40 states and in Canada
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto
Several natural raw red onions. Some sliced in half. Among the peelings. On a wooden table.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Oregon health officials said Friday a salmonella outbreak has sickened 76 people in the state so far, in 13 counties. Eighteen of those 76 people were hospitalized.

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) warned people not to eat onions from Thomson International, Inc., of Bakersfield, California.

The Oregon cases are part of a larger outbreak that has sickened more than 400 people in about 40 states and in Canada. 

Although red onions are the likely source, Thomson will recall all varieties of onions, OHA announced.

"People who believe they’ve gotten diarrhea from consuming red onions might want to contact a health care provider," said Oregon Public Health Division epidemiologist Emilio DeBess. 

But Debess said most people with salmonella will recover without antibiotics.

Consumers who have the onions should discard them immediately and wash their hands afterward, DeBess said.

Every year, 400 to 500 salmonella infections are reported in Oregon. In most cases, people develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps a day or more 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," the OHA announcement reads. "Salmonella may spread from the intestines to the bloodstream and then to other body sites and, in rare cases, can be deadly."

Check here for information about the national salmonella outbreak