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Salmonella strikes 18 Tennesseans

Claudia Pinto,

February 15, 2007

Eighteen Tennesseans have been sickened by the nationwide salmonella outbreak that's been linked to peanut butter, according to state health officials.

Dr. Tim Jones, deputy state epidemiologist, said seven of the 18 victims required hospitalization, but all have recovered. He said people started getting ill in October and the latest person was sickened within the last two weeks.

"If you have recently eaten peanut butter and are having symptoms like fever, cramps or diarrhea, we recommend you call your doctor and get a stool sample," Jones said. "It takes one to two days before people start getting symptoms."

Salmonella is a bacteria that's typically transmitted to humans by eating contaminated foods. How the salmonella got into the food is still under investigation.

Those infected are typically sick for four to seven days and most people recover without treatment. However, in some cases diarrhea may be so severe that hospitalization is required.

So far nearly 300 people across the country have fallen ill. The Food and Drug Administration has directed people not to eat jars of Peter Pan or Great Value peanut butter that have a product code beginning with "2111" on the lid.

Jones said the Tennessee victims live all over the state and range from children to the elderly. He said none of the sufferers are from Davidson County.

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