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Smiling Hara Tempeh Salmonella Paratyphi B Outbreak

On May 1, 2012, the Bruncombe County Health Department announced that a Salmonella Paratyphi B outbreak had been reported among residents of Asheville and Buncombe County. The health department announced just a few days later that Smiling Hara tempeh was the source of the Salmonella outbreak. At least 88 people from 4 states--most of them from the Asheville area--had been confirmed with Salmonella Paratyphi, by May 23, 2012.

On May 9, 2012, public health officials announced that starter culture used by Smiling Hara of Asheville, NC, was the source of the Salmonella Paratyphi B outbreak. By then, Smiling Hara had already voluntarily recalled 12-ounce packages of unpasteurized soybean tempeh because of possible contamination with Salmonella. According to the company's Website, Smiling Hara tempeh is made with three ingredients: beans, vinegar and culture. It was later learned that the starter culture was distributed by Tempeh Online (also known as , a Rockville, Maryland, company.

According to the Buncome County Department of Health, some Salmonella outbreak victims had eaten tempeh, others became ill through person-to-person contact with another person who was ill with Salmonella, and still other cases were under further investigation to determine how they became ill with Salmonella.

According to the Bruncombe County Health Department, the strain of Salmonella Paratyphi B found in Smiling Hara tempeh causes less severe symptoms than other strains of Salmonella. Individuals who have been restricted from working up to this point may be eligible to return to work sooner than with other strains of Salmonella. In addition, people who became ill with Salmonella Paratyphi B during this outbreak may not require antibiotics for treatment unless they have special health issues.

Salmonella Paratyphi

Salmonella are found in the intestinal tract of wild and domesticated animals and humans. Some serotypes of Salmonella, such as Salmonella Paratyphi, are only found in humans. For ease of discussion, it is generally useful to group Salmonellae into two broad categories: typhoidal, which includes Salmonella Typhi and Salmonella Paratyphi, and non-typhoidal, which includes all other serotypes.

Salmonella Paratyphi Infection Symptoms

Salmonella serotypes Typhi and Paratyphi generally cause a bacteremic illness—Salmonella found in the blood—of long duration. This illness is called enteric, typhoid, or paratyphoid fever. Symptoms of Salmonella Paratyphi infection start gradually, and include fever, headache, malaise, lethargy, and abdominal pain. In children, it can present as a non-specific fever. The incubation period for Salmonella Typhi is usually 8 to 14 days, but it can range from 3 to 60 days. [5, 6] For Salmonella Paratyphi infections, the incubation period is similar to that of non-typhoidal Salmonella, 1 to 10 days.

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