Box displaying various cuts of tuna prepared as sashimi. Photo credit: Wiki Commons
Box displaying various cuts of tuna prepared as sashimi. Photo credit: Wiki Commons

San Diegans who develop abdominal discomfort like nausea, diarrhea or cramping after eating raw ground tuna should seek medical attention, the county Health and Human Services Agency recommended Friday.

The advice was issued one day after state health officials reported that 31 California residents have been diagnosed with a strain of salmonella likely linked to the consumption of raw tuna commonly used in sushi.

In San Diego, seven residents and two visitors have been sickened, according to the HHSA.

“Anyone with salmonella symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramping, especially after recently eating raw ground tuna, should seek medical attention,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer. “Healthcare providers are advised to get stool cultures from patients who have diarrhea and fever.”

Undercooked meat, poultry and eggs are the most common causes of salmonella, according to the HHSA.

A total of 53 cases of a salmonella paratyphi B variant have been reported in nine states, according to the California Department of Public Health. Most of the patients reported eating sushi containing raw tuna, and 10 people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

State and local health officials, along with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration, are still trying to find the source of the outbreak.

Salmonella symptoms include diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. Most patients often recover without any treatment, but some may need to be hospitalized due to severe diarrhea. It can be fatal if not treated promptly, according to CDPH.

Certain groups of people are at a higher risk of serious foodborne illnesses, including children younger than 5 years, adults older than 65 years, pregnant women, people with weakened immune systems and those with low acid levels in the stomach. Such people should not eat raw fish or raw shellfish, according to the HHSA.

—City News Service