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News: Salmonella Outbreak

In an effort to provide timely healthcare information to the residents of greater McHenry County, Centegra Health System announces warning signs of a nationwide salmonella outbreak has been linked to consumption of certain raw red plum, red Roma and red round tomatoes, and products containing these raw red tomatoes.

The Food and Drug Administration recommends, however, that consumers can continue to eat cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, and tomatoes sold with the vine still attached, or tomatoes grown at home.

Internally, Centegra food and nutrition officials have pulled from all food services operations, the tomatoes affected by the FDA announcement.

“Centegra’s food service management vendor, Sodexho, suggested that until further notice, we will not serve any tomatoes included in that announcement,” said Shelly Anderson-Beatty, manager of health and nutrition services for Centegra Health System.

While no salmonella cases have been reported at any Centegra Health System locations, experts warn that it can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections particularly in young children, frail or elderly people, and those with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons often experience fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, the organism can get into the bloodstream and produce more severe illnesses.

Dr. Debbie Tungol, M.D., Centegra Primary Care-Huntley, said symptoms of this uncommon Salmonella St. Paul strain include fever, diarrhea, abdominal cramps and nausea, noticed within 12-72 hours after the infection may have occurred.

“Hand washing is extremely important and if patients are unsure of the cause and treatment of their symptoms, they should most definitely get in touch with their doctor right away,” Tungol said.

She added that severe cases of salmonella may include nine to 10 episodes of diarrhea per day, very high fever, low blood pressure, severe dehydration and weakness.

“It’s very important for those infected to seek oral hydration and antibiotics if necessary,” Tungol said.

Tungol may be reached by calling (815) 338-6600. Centegra Primary Care-Huntley is located at 11650 S. Route 47, Huntley.

Centegra Health System is committed to meeting the healthcare needs of the residents of greater McHenry County and to making services available in multiple and convenient locations, including hospitals in McHenry and Woodstock, Immediate and Primary Care centers, Health Bridge Fitness Centers and more. As the region’s leading healthcare provider, Centegra Health System continues to bring the latest treatments and technology, along with the skills of nearly 4,000 medical professionals, to meet the needs of the growing McHenry County community.