Salmonella has been in the news lately due to an outbreak that health officials are calling the largest foodborne outbreak in U.S. history.

The salmonella outbreak is blamed for over 1,000 illnesses across the country - with 203 people requiring hospitalization since June 1, 2008.

What makes this outbreak particularly ominous is neither the FDA nor the CDC know what the source of the outbreak is.

Initially, the source was thought to be tomatoes. But on Wednesday, U.S. health officials added hot jalapeño peppers and cilantro (salsa) to the growing list of suspects. The first cluster of illnesses were linked to restaurants, leading federal officials to believe that food containing fresh tomatoes and jalapeno peppers were the culprits.

"Neither tomatoes nor jalapeños explain the entire outbreak at this point," said Dr. Robert Tauxe, deputy director of the division of foodborne, bacterial and mycotic diseases at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. "We're presuming that both of them cause illness."

Some critics believe the government's inability to pinpoint an exact cause leaves the nation vulnerable to biological terrorist attacks.



Salmonella is responsible for most of the foodborne illnesses reported in the U.S. Salmonella is found in chickens, cows, turtles, iguanas and other reptiles. For that reason, reptiles are never appropriate pets for small toddlers or babies.

Salmonella lives in water, soil, feces, raw eggs and raw meats and can be transmitted to food contact areas such as kitchen surfaces and restaurant salad bars. Eggs and meats should be cooked thoroughly before eating. Wiping counters down with an alcohol solution kills the bacteria.

Symptoms of salmonella food poisoning include nausea, vomiting, headache, diarrhea (sometimes bloody), fever and abdominal cramps. Symptoms usually resolve without treatment in healthy individuals. People with weakened immune systems, babies and the elderly are most at risk for salmonella poisoning.

Good hand washing technique is the best prevention against the bacteria.

As always, consult your personal physician if you have any symptoms or questions. This has been your Medical Minute.

  • Anna

    I believe this is started by the people working in the fields who do not was their hands before they pick/harvest/cut the food. Just because you work in a field and it is a dirty job does not mean you don't wash your hand after using the bathroom.

  • ReadTheBlog

    Soap and water goes a long way. So does 1/2 c of bleach w/ 2 quarts of water.

  • http://www.myspace.com/spiceandmusicqueen08 pyt_504

    Anna Says:

    I believe this is started by the people working in the fields who do not was their hands before they pick/harvest/cut the food. Just because you work in a field and it is a dirty job does not mean you don’t wash your hand after using the bathroom
    _________________________________________________________

    I totally agree!!! You know how many people dont wash their hands? You wouldnt believe it! Wait let me take this back... Do you know how many people just rinse their hands off and dont use the soap after using the restroom?!!

  • Anna

    I have been to many company gatherings. I can't believe what I see when I see it with my own eyes. Not to be mean, but White woman with money are the worst. How can you not wash your hands with soap? They do like to only rinse.

  • http://www.myspace.com/spiceandmusicqueen08 pyt_504

    HAHHAHAH YEA ANNA THAT IS WHAT i WAS GETTING AT.. I JUST DIDNT WANNA SAY WHO IT WAS.

  • Anna

    pyt. guess it's a white thing. We would not understand. LOL.

  • kalvonel

    ROTF!!! good point Anna & PYT! I thought about these salmonella outbreaks actually being terrorist attacks back when spinnach was in question, but now it may just be bad hygiene.

  • http://www.myspace.com/spiceandmusicqueen08 pyt_504

    HUMM CANT REALLY SAY... GIRL I NET THIS GUY A FEW MONTHS AGO AND FINALLY HE CAME TO MY HOUSE AFTER ABOUT 2 MONTHS. Welllllllll anyway he asked where the restroom was and I showed him. Do you know this big grown nasty ass negro didnt wash his hands!!! Girl I gave him the "let me see if this negro washed his hands test" Yes there is a test. Well anyway as soon as he came out the restroom he sat next to me on the couch. he smiled.. I smiled. So i grabbed his hand and they were dry as the damn dessert!!! I was like ewwwwwwwwww you didnt wash you damn hands!!! He swore up and down he did.. I was like nawwwwww boo yoiu didnt cause your hands not even moist! So he went back and washed them and I played it off like my cell phone rung and I told him I had a family emergency and I had to go.. needless to say I ignored all his calls from that day on and I never spoke to his nasty ass again! ughhh and to think he wanted to make me some gumbo!!!??? UGHHHHHHH

  • shunda

    I agree with PYT. If people washed there hands with soap and water we wouldn't have these problems. I have been very grossed out lately at the amount of cooking shows on Food Network that do not show people washing their hands.

  • http://www.myspace.com/spiceandmusicqueen08 pyt_504

    OK i had to get that off my chest.......... ahhhhhhhhh relax relate and release!

  • Anna

    That is nasty. I was thinking about breakfast. Not anymore.

  • http://www.myspace.com/spiceandmusicqueen08 pyt_504

    Something else to think about: Do you know how many people dont wash their hands in nightclubs?....... Lawd help me! Thats one reason why i dont use public restrooms I would rather hold myself and get a bladder infection than to use public restrooms. Even when im in hotels. I bring my own cleaning things. Clorox cleanup and clorox wipes are my best friend!!!

  • http://www.myspace.com/millyly milly

    If people washed their hands we would all go a long way...and yes rinsing your hands does not constitute as "washing" them.

  • LeLe

    the salmonella outbreaks is a terrorist attack from white folks! I have seen so many and work with so many white folks that don't wash their hands after they use the restroom. It disgusts me so much! I've went in many restaurants and use the RR same time white folks use it and they still dont wash their hands. Why white people? Never understood this. I want to put up signs everywhere and say 'WHITE FOLKS, PLEASE WASH AFTER USE' in these restrooms.

  • http://pleasurekisses.com Mika79

    And there went my breakfast!!

    I'm just going to try that one diet until this goes away...ANOREXIA!

  • shunda

    LMAO. I don't use public restrooms either. My kids get so mad when we go places because I am like you should of went before we left home. Now hold it and if you pee in my car I am whooping that ass.

  • prynsexxx

    Sandra said:

    "critics believe the government’s inability to pinpoint an exact cause leaves the nation vulnerable to biological terrorist attacks".........
    _____________________________________________________

    You mean to tell me that SARS, mad cow, the avian bird flu, cancer,HIV/AIDS and that darn MRSA bug aren't in the same catergory. I mean whatever happened to the SARS, avian bird flu, and MRSA bug anyway? Do they a get a VH-1 special of "where are they now"? How is it that "the government" seems to pinpoint that ONE cow that was infected, but can't find Osama?

    As far as the using public restrooms and not washing hands and sleeping in hotels. I bet yall I work with the nastiest YT folks on The Almighty's green earth.

    1. NEVER and I repeat NEVER use toilet paper that is "just sitting on top of the dispenser or toilet" - if it isn't wrapped up. I for one never did it b/c you never know how many times it has fallen off of the toilet dispenser or toilet and rolled across the floor and someone just picked it up and sat it back in its place. Secondly b/c I seen with my OWN eyes before I even walked in and pulled my pants down that a nasty ass trick decided to change herself and stick her nasty bloody fingers inside the paper roll and there was menstrual all inside the paper roll (just threw up a lil).

    I (prynsexxx), "surfs" over the toilet, sometimes I miss the, most times NOT, but I DO make it a duty to clean up after myself. Well I know that these nasty ass broads will come in and plop their stank behinds right on the seat with NO seat cover or nothing. Just nasty. Now what if I wanted to be mean that day and not clean up behind myself. I HATE using the bathroom after another female, even if it's in my own home or somebody that I know.

    HOTELS: PYT you ain't said nuthin'. Just stayed at a hotel July 4th weekend.

    This is REAL TALK........
    I check in........I race to the room. I put my bags on top of the dresser, suitcase stand or where ever so that they are NOT touching the floor. I get RUBBER GLOVES, I tear the covers and sheets OFF of the bed and onto the floor. I check the seams, the cracks, the crevaces. I take my ALCOHOL BED BUG SPRAY - yes I buys it before I get to my destination - and I spray, and douse and spray and douse the darn bed to death. I spray behind the headboards, I spray some more. I take my NEW sheets (mostly something I can just wrap myself in, not to make the whole bed)out of their pack and go from there. As far as the bathroom. Clorox wipes and clean-ups - girl boo. Don't forget the Scrubbing Bubbles and 50 cent toilet seat covers from Wal-Mart oh and most definately your own towels, wash cloths and SHOWER SHOES. Don't trip!

    I have a friend that if she looks in the room and it doesn't look right she will go home or sleep in the car. REAL TALK

  • http://www.myspace.com/spiceandmusicqueen08 pyt_504

    PRYNN THANKS FOR YOUR LIL STORY BUT UMMMMMMM THIS IS WHAT YOU SAID AND IT MAKE NO DAMN SENSE..........

    I check in……..I race to the room. I put my bags on top of the dresser, suitcase stand or where ever so that they are NOT touching the floor. I get RUBBER GLOVES, I tear the covers and sheets OFF of the bed and onto the floor.
    _________________________________________________________

    wELL UMMMM IF YOU DONT WANT YOUR LUGGAGE ON THE FLOOR.. THEN WHY DO YOU THROW THE SHEETS AND COVERS ON THE FLOOR?... I MEAN IT JUST MAKES NO DAMN SENSE... I GUESS ITS ONE OF THOSE THINGS THAT MAKES ME GO "HUMMMMM"

  • http://www.myspace.com/spiceandmusicqueen08 pyt_504

    wAIT NEVERMIND... I WENT BACK AND RE READ --- YOU BRING YOUR OWN SHEETS.... OK I AM TIRED... I DIDNT THINK YOU WAS THAT SLOW MY GIRL.... MY BAD BOO!

  • prynsexxx

    LOL @ PYT

    You know I was bout ta getcha! LOL

    To clarify, it's THEIR covers, not mine. LOL

  • MAJAHINEVERYWAY

    Damn! My snack of choice is baked tortillas and salsa! You can't eat jack! I need to get my behind out in the backyard and grow my own tomatoes and other vegetables. I live in the country now, but once a city girl........always a city girl. I have to start reading some books on doing this. I have not a clue.

  • prynsexxx

    LOL #21 said:

    I need to get my behind out in the backyard and grow my own tomatoes and other vegetables
    _____________________________________________________

    Start with a Chia Herb garden.

    chi chi chi chia

  • NC_NYer

    First of all, LMAO at "chi chi chi CHIA!!"

    Secondly - Wow...isn't it crazy that we ALL know YT folks that are just NASTY?! And they have the AUDACITY to look down on us?! LOL! LOL!

    And now, I know everyone ain't like that - but I bet we ALL know a couple of people in the office that we DON'T shake hands with because we KNOW they don't wash!

    I also bet most of ya'll DON'T eat at the company potluck dinners for the same reason - folks just REACHING their hands all in the potato chips or touching the bagels or sandwiches WITH THEIR HANDS! WHAT?! NO TONGS?!

    And answer this for me? WHY DO YT FOLKS BLOW THEIR NOSES AT THE DINNER TABLE? If you haven't noticed, you will, now that I've said something about it!

    However - I was just thinking - YT folks aren't the ones out in the fields in California, Florida, etc. picking the tomatoes. I'm not trying to single anyone out - but you do know that most of the imported tomatoes come from just south of the border, right? And we already know not to drink the water....HMMMM

    And I'm sorry - I DO believe if the terrorists haven't used a biological attack (in the form of foodborne illness) yet (for all we know, the gov't could have covered it up), they will in the future.

    I mean - did the terrorists really win after 9/11? Multiple food borne illnesses, MRSA and other infectious diseases, financial markets losing money (after the collapse of the towers, one of the biggest symbols of our financial dominance) -

    IS AMERICA FALLING OFF??

  • Lucy

    prynsexxx damn do you pack any clothes. I would hate to have to carry your bags LOL.

  • Anna

    @NC NYer And answer this for me? WHY DO YT FOLKS BLOW THEIR NOSES AT THE DINNER TABLE? If you haven’t noticed, you will, now that I’ve said something about it!
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    This makes my blood boil. It can ruin a good time.
    Also, we know we are not taking a job picking anything in a field for 10 hours a day and a black man knew this and invented "The Cotton Gin". LOL.

    I don't do the hand shake either. When someone comes into the office I use my Vanna White or Barkers Beauty hand wave and point them to a chair across my desk to sit down so I can help them. Ha Ha, I am more normal than I thought.

  • cahjan

    Well guys...I can agree to everything you all have mentioned. How can you work in the healthcare field and watch coworkers not wash their hands before dealing with people. They go to the bathroom and never wash their hands one bit. We even have hand sanitizer stations all over the florr every 20-30 feet and to think they don't use those either.
    And to think they can't figure out where the Salmonella outbreak is coming from... your workstation, your car, your clothes... not really, but they are nasty people!
    Ok, so I take call about Salmonella all day and or night when I'm at work. Last night a man called and ranted about allowing produce into the US that was grown in human feces! He claimed that is how they grow produce "south of the border", yet his dumb @ss went to the store and bought the 2 things they have confirmed to be part of the Salmonella outbreak (Jalapenos and tomatoes). How dumb! On top of that he lives in the state with the highest case count TX.
    I can attest that the govn't is working hard to find the cause of the outbreak, but with so many foods that come in from across the borders, its hard to pnpoint one single cause. There are multiple causes...the problem is that all of them have not been recognized. Give it time and it will all come to light! Until then:
    1. Wash all produce thoroughly before eating
    2. Cook any meats and eggs thoroughly before eating
    3. Make sure you keep hot foods hot and cold food cold
    4. Store your cooked foods properly
    5. Keep foods out of the sun and keep them covered to prevent contamination and spoilage.
    6. Wash your hands (with soap and Hot water) for at least 20-30 seconds to kill germs.
    7. Cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze (with a sleeve or other covering, but not your hands).
    8. Be cautious when eating food prepared in restaurants and at dining events (including ray-ray's cookout).
    9. If it smells funny then don't eat it!
    10. Use common sense and tell your YT and Other friends to do the same!

    My helpful tips for the medical minute...