Salmonella contamination alert: Maradol papayas from Mexico should be thrown out, says the Centers for Disease Control.

Salmonella is one of the most common causes of food poisoning in the United States. This organism can elicit serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, the elderly, and immunocompromised individuals.

Salmonella is killed by cooking and pasteurization.

Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often have fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare cases, infection can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (e.g., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis.

Symptoms may appear six hours to three days after exposure, but generally within 12-36 hours.

Most people with symptoms of Salmonella recover on their own. Some people may require fluids to prevent dehydration.

For any questions regarding illness, contact your health care provider.

The single most important way to prevent the spread of Salmonella is careful handwashing:

- Before and after food preparation;
- After using the toilet or changing diapers;
- After handling domestic or wild animals, and pets such as reptiles, birds or baby chicks, dogs, cats and hamsters;
- After contact with pet feces.

Additional Tips:

· Thoroughly cook all food derived from animal sources. Do not eat or drink food containing raw eggs or raw (unpasteurized) milk.

· Refrigerate foods promptly. Do not hold foods at room temperature any longer than necessary.

· Wash cutting boards, utensils, and food preparation counters with soap and water immediately after use.

· Make sure that the correct internal cooking temperature is reached. The correct temperature is 160ºF for beef and pork, and 180ºF for poultry.

· Prevent cross contamination. Never let raw meat and poultry, or their juices, come in contact with cooked meat or any other food, raw or cooked.