Eight people in Maryland are among 93 across the country who have been sickened by a
The strain being investigated is salmonella bareilly, and infections have been reported in 19 states and the District of Columbia. The Maryland cases were adults in the Baltimore area, and none required hospitalization.
Investigators have not found a direct link to any food source. Chu said sushi is among the foods being tracked because many of the victims ate sashimi or sushi in the week before becoming sick, which is the incubation period for salmonella.
"We still continue to investigate additional possibilities," Chu said.
Salmonella symptoms can appear within 12 to 72 hours of exposure and can last four to seven days. Symptoms include nausea, abdominal cramps and
Charles Haile, division head of infectious diseases at Greater Baltimore Medical Center, said severe cases of salmonella can be treated with antibiotics.
Infants, the elderly and people with compromised immune symptoms are particularly vulnerable.
"The general advice for people who are at higher risk for infection is to avoid eating raw foods," Chu said.
Health officials are not telling most people to stop eating sushi. Chu said there is no "specific advice" for the general population other than to be aware that there is a risk of salmonella when eating any type of raw food.
Haile said called salmonella "ubiquitous" and the most common food-borne illness.
"With the mechanization of food preparation, all it takes is the contamination of one instrument or one machine that is involved, and a whole lot can be contaminated in wholesale fashion at one time," he said.
People should contact their doctor if symptoms become severe, he said.
State health officials also warned Marylanders this week about the spread of salmonella through baby rabbits, turtles, chickens, ducks and other animals popular around the
Since September 2001, six people in Maryland have contracted bacterial infections from baby turtles, or those with shells less than 4 inches wide, according to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Five required hospitalization.
The state decided to issue its warning Tuesday because they know many parents buy their children baby animals around Easter.