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Three cases of tomato-related salmonella found in Yakima County

The Yakima Health District confirmed yesterday, Wednesday, three cases of a salmonella strain, called Saintpaul.

The nationwide outbreak has been attributed to raw tomatoes, and the three individuals in Yakima County reportedly became ill from the bacteria but have since recovered.

Health officials encourage everyone to thoroughly wash all fresh produce to prevent any type of bacterial infection. Some recommendations are:

- Be sure that fresh cut fruits and vegetables are refrigerated at the store before buying. Avoid purchasing bruised or damaged produce.

- Rinse fresh fruits and vegetables under running tap water, including those with skins and rinds that are not eaten.

- Keep fresh produce separate from raw meat. Cook or throw away fresh produce that have touched raw meat.

- Refrigerate at 40 degrees or below all cut, peeled, or cooked fresh fruits and vegetables within two hours.

- When preparing food, be sure to wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils and counter tops with hot water and soap when switching between types of foods.

Symptoms of salmonella infection include diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts four to seven days.

If anyone believes they are infected with salmonella, they are strongly urged to seek medical care from their physician.

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