A federally funded agency responsible for protecting the health of all Americans confirmed a bacterial outbreak in dozens of states on Sept. 24.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified a new Salmonella outbreak linked to an unknown food source. At least 279 people are ill and 26 hospitalized across 29 states.

Numerous Salmonella Oranienburg infections have been traced back to condiment cups sold at takeaway restaurants.

The cups in question contain cilantro, lime, and onions. Officials are unable to identify which of the ingredients are responsible for food poisoning.

“State and local officials have collected food items from some of the restaurants where sick people ate,” CDC said in a statement. “The outbreak strain of Salmonella Oranienburg was found in a sample taken from a takeout condiment cup containing cilantro and lime. The sick person reported that the condiment container also contained onions but none were left in the cup when it was tested.”

The outbreak began on August 3 and “rapidly” spread in the following weeks. No deaths were reported at the time of publication.

Authorities believe the number of relevant cases is significantly higher than reported. This is because many people who contract Salmonella usually recover at home without further medical testing or care. Another factor is the three to four weeks wait to determine if a patient was part of a larger outbreak.

New York City-based Lenox Hill Hospital internist Louis Morledge revealed Salmonella infections are more likely to occur during the warmer months.

“Warmer weather and unrefrigerated foods create ideal conditions for Salmonella to grow,” she said according to Healthline.

Perishable foods should be stored in the fridge or freezer. All food should be well cooked before consumption to minimize the risk of contamination.

Salmonella symptoms include diarrhea, fever, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, and headaches.

Anyone experiencing dehydration, prolonged vomiting, prolonged diarrhea, or diarrhea with a fever of more than 102 degrees Fahrenheit should see a doctor immediately.

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