By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily
At least 16 Wyoming residents have been sickened by eating red onions infected with salmonella, the Wyoming Department of Health announced Monday.
The department urged residents to avoid onions distributed by Thomson International Inc. in the face of the salmonella outbreak that has affected at least 396 people in 34 states.
Thomson is recalling all of its onions, regardless of color, from all states.
“People ill in connection this outbreak described eating raw onions in freshly prepared foods, including salads, wraps, salsas and dips,” said Tiffany Greenlee, surveillance epidemiologist with the Department of Health.
Greenlee recommended that people look through their refrigerators and kitchens for the tainted onions or any food made with the onions as an ingredient and discard all onions with Thomson International stickers. If it is unclear where an onion came from, it should be thrown away as well, Greenlee said.
Surfaces that may have been in contact with onions or their packaging, such as countertops and knives, should also be washed and sanitized, Greenlee said.
The symptoms of salmonella include diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps that usually surface six hours to six days after exposure to the bacteria. The Health Department said the illness lasts for four to seven days and most people recover without treatment.
Children under the age of 5 and adults 65 and order and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to have more severe symptoms, the department said.