A state in Venezuela has reported a Salmonella outbreak with almost 250 people affected.

The Anzoatiguense Institute of Health (Saludanz) has recorded a significant increase in cases of salmonellosis during the past month in the state of Bolívar. So far, there have been no deaths.

Omar Aray, president of the health agency, said 240 children and adults had been affected and seen at different health centers.

The Campo Claro, Barrio Sucre, El Espejo, Guamachito, Las Casitas, Barrio Corea, Buenos Aires and Brisas del Mar regions had the highest number of reports.

Food, water are suspected sources

Investigations have found that some bottlers and distributors of drinking water do not have sanitary permits. It has also been shown that certain food vendors do not meet hygienic conditions for the handling of food.

Those affected have reported the water does not reach them regularly and when it does arrive, it is cloudy in color and has an odor.

State governor, Antonio Barreto Sira, said a meeting was held with officials to analyze the outbreak.

He called on people to be vigilant about where they bought food, take hygiene measures such as washing and cooking food before eating it, storing it correctly and preventive action such as boiling water.

Saludanz has requested a review into the water distribution system in the affected areas.

Other actions include continued visits to outlets to carry out food handling courses, taking of water samples to verify chlorination and any bacteriological contamination and culturing of patient samples.

About Salmonella infections

Food contaminated with Salmonella bacteria does not usually look, smell, or taste spoiled. Anyone can become sick with a Salmonella infection. Infants, children, seniors, and people with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of serious illness because their immune systems are fragile, according to the CDC.

Anyone who has developed symptoms of Salmonella infection should seek medical attention. Sick people should tell their doctors about the possible exposure to Salmonella bacteria because special tests are necessary to diagnose salmonellosis. Salmonella infection symptoms can mimic other illnesses, frequently leading to misdiagnosis.

Symptoms of Salmonella infection can include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours after eating contaminated food. Otherwise, healthy adults are usually sick for four to seven days. In some cases, however, diarrhea may be so severe that patients require hospitalization.

Older adults, children, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems, such as cancer patients, are more likely to develop a severe illness and serious, sometimes life-threatening conditions.

Some people get infected without getting sick or showing any symptoms. However, they may still spread the infections to others.

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Source: Food Safety