10 cases of salmonella on Oahu linked to imported frozen raw ahi
The state Department of Health said today it has confirmed 10 cases of salmonella infection on Oahu related to eating previously frozen internationally imported raw ahi.
The people who became ill with Salmonella Paratyphi B reported eating raw ahi, often prepared as poke, that was purchased or served at various locations on Oahu.
The DOH said that as of April 12 there were 13 other confirmed cases of Salmonella Paratyphi B in five other states — California (7), Maryland (2), Pennsylvania (2), Massachusetts (1) and New York (1). The DOH said it is working with the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to determine if these cases also involved raw ahi.
The DOH said it also has asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to open an investigation of international sources of frozen raw ahi.
"With the help of the USFDA, we hope to identify the source so we can prevent further illness," Health Director Dr. Chiyome Fukino said in a statement.
Health Department spokeswoman Janice Okubo said the DOH was not making any recommendations to consumers at this point.
Okubo said there always are health risks when eating raw animal products.
She said consumers could ask about the source of raw fish but that they would probably be best served by sticking with dealers they are familiar with and with whom they have built a trust.
The DOH said it previously identified 35 cases of Salmonella Paratyphi B on Oahu between October 2007 and February 2008, all caused by the consumption of raw imported frozen ahi.
On the Net:
Information on salmonella: http://www.hawaii.gov/health