Public Warned About Salmonella-Related Danger From Illegally Made Mexican-Style Cheese

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This colorized scanning electron micrograph depicts a colony of rod-shaped salmonella bacteria. (Credit: CDC)

Health officials were warning consumers Thursday about the danger of eating illegally manufactured Mexican-style soft cheeses, which are often sold by street vendors.

Since last November, at least 50 people have been infected with three different strains of salmonella, which may be linked to unpasteurized Mexican-style cheese, according to a news release from the California Department of Public Health.

No deaths had been reported, but several people were hospitalized, the release stated.

“These cheeses are often made with raw, unpasteurized milk and under unsanitary conditions,” said CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith. “We are seeing a dramatic increase in the number of reported Salmonella cases, particularly in the Hispanic community.”

Symptoms of salmonella infection include fever, abdominal cramps and diarrhea.

While most people recover within a week without medical care, some may develop complications that require hospitalization, Smith stated.

Infants, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems are at highest risk for more severe complications, according to the release.