Health officials: 10 sickened on Oahu by raw ahi - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Health officials: 10 sickened on Oahu by raw ahi

Ahi poke Ahi poke
Health Director Dr. Chiyome Fukino Health Director Dr. Chiyome Fukino

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) is warning consumers about a potential danger in consuming previously frozen, imported raw ahi (tuna). The DOH announced Thursday that 10 people on Oahu recently became ill after eating raw ahi.

The illness was caused by the salmonella bacteria. The individuals who became sick reported eating raw ahi, often prepared as poke, that was purchased or served at several locations on Oahu.

"The Department of Health is concerned about these cases that are similar to a cluster of cases we investigated two years ago," Health Director Dr. Chiyome Fukino said.  "With the help of the USFDA, we hope to identify the source so we can prevent any further illness."

A similar rash of salmonella cases occurred in Hawaii between October 2007 and February 2008. These 35 cases were also linked to frozen imported ahi, but a definitive source of the contaminated fish was never identified.

The current strain of salmonella has also been confirmed in California, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and New York.

Salmonella typically causes diarrhea (may be bloody), that is often accompanied by abdominal cramps and fever.  Symptoms typically begin within one to four days after exposure to the bacteria, although for this particular strain, incubation may be from five to seven days. 

In infants, persons with poor underlying health, and those with weakened immune systems, salmonella can invade the bloodstream and cause life-threatening infections.  Anyone experiencing these symptoms after eating raw fish, meat or poultry should seek medical attention. 

Officials advise that thorough cooking of raw fish will kill the salmonella bacteria.

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