Chocolate chip and s’more bar dough sold by take-and-bake pizza chain Papa Murphy’s is behind a multistate outbreak of salmonella, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced.
Eighteen people have been infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella enteritidis in six states since February. The states affected are California, Idaho, Missouri, Oregon, Utah and Washington.
Twelve of 14 people interviewed reported eating food from Papa Murphy’s, and nine ate raw Chocolate Chip Cookie or S’mores Bars dough.
Public health officials are continuing their investigation to determine the source of contamination and whether additional products are linked to illnesses.
The CDC says the true number of sick people in this outbreak is likely higher than the number reported, because infected people may recover without medical care and may not get tested for salmonella. Recent cases also may not be recorded because it can take up to four weeks to determine whether an illness is linked to an outbreak.
Advice to consumers
The more than 1,300 Papa Murphy’s stores have stopped selling their raw chocolate chip cookie dough and s’mores bars, and the CDC recommends that people check their refrigerators and freezers for these products and throw them away.
Tips for handling raw dough:
- Do not eat raw dough unless it is labeled as safe to consume. Most dough is made with unpasteurized eggs or raw flour that may harbor germs.
- After handling raw dough, remember to thoroughly wash hands, work surfaces and utensils.
- Keep raw dough separate from other foods while preparing them to prevent the spread of possible contaminants.
Symptoms of a salmonella infection
Salmonellosis, the intestinal infection caused by the salmonella bacteria, typically leads to diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps. In severe cases, the infection can spread from the intestines to the urine, blood, bones, joints, spinal fluid or brain. Symptoms generally begin six hours to six days after infection and can last up to seven days. However, in some instances, symptoms can appear weeks after infection or remain for several weeks, according to the CDC.
A confirmed diagnosis is made when a lab test determines that the bacteria is present in a person’s stool, body tissue or fluids. Most people can recover without an antibiotic, but treatment is recommended for anyone with severe illness. Infected adults over age 65 (or over 50 if an underlying condition such as heart disease is present), infants and those with a weakened immune system are also advised to take an antibiotic.
Call a physician right away if you or a loved one has:
- Diarrhea and a fever higher than 102 degrees.
- Diarrhea for more than three days that is not improving.
- Bloody diarrhea.
- So much vomiting that liquid can’t be kept down.
- Signs of dehydration, such as infrequent urination, feeling dizzy when standing up, or dry mouth and throat.
Aaron Kassraie writes about issues important to military veterans and their families for AARP. He also serves as a general assignment reporter. Kassraie previously covered U.S. foreign policy as a correspondent for the Kuwait News Agency’s Washington bureau and worked in news gathering for USA Today and Al Jazeera English.