More than two dozen people in Hawaii have been infected by Salmonella bacteria in an outbreak that is tentatively linked to seaweed from an unnamed farm on Oahu.
The 14 infected people include children and adults, with four victims have such severe symptoms that they required hospitalization, according to the Hawaii Department of Health.
A traditional Hawaiian dish, ahi poke (in large dish) is garnished in this illustration with a variety of spices and vegetables, including limu, or seaweed (upper left dish) which is sometimes purple in color.
“Although our investigation is still ongoing, our preliminary investigation has implicated limu, also known as ogo or seaweed, produced at a particular farm on Oahu,” said State Epidemiologist Sarah Park in a news release Monday.
“To protect the public’s health, the department stepped in to make sure this product is no longer being put on the market pending further investigation. At the same time, we want the public to be aware of the situation so they may seek medical care if needed.”
Although encouraging public awareness, the state health department did not release the name of the Oahu farm. The department ordered the farm “to halt operations and advise its customers to remove product from sale immediately,” according to the news release.
All of the infected people developed diarrheal illnesses from mid- to late October. Preliminary investigations identified consumption of raw fish, specifically poke that contained limu, as a common factor among the sick people.
Anyone who has eaten poke containing limo and developed symptoms of Salmonella infection should seek medical attention and alert their doctor to the possible Salmonella exposure. Symptoms typically begin within 12 to 72 hours after exposure to the bacteria, according to the Hawaii health department.
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