Discuss as:

Contaminated cucumbers sicken 73

At least 73 people in 18 states have been sickened with salmonella poisoning after eating cucumbers imported from Mexico, government health officials said Thursday.

The potentially tainted cukes have been removed from the market and the two firms involved -- Daniel Cardenas Izabal and Miracle Greenhouse of Culiacan, Mexico -- were placed on import alert Thursday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The cucumbers were distributed by Tricar Sales Inc. of Rio Rico, Ariz.

Cucumbers from the firms will be denied access to the United States until the suppliers show that they are not contaminated with salmonella, including the salmonella Saintpaul strain detected in the current outbreak.

The biggest concentrations of victims were clustered in Western states, including 28 from California and nine from Arizona. Fourteen people have been hospitalized. Reports show that illnesses occurred between Jan. 12 and April 6, though more could still be detected.

Most people infected with salmonella bacteria develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps within one to three days of eating contaminated food. The illness typically lasts four to seven days, and most people recover without treatment. However, some people may require hospitalization. Most at risk are children younger than 5, older adults and people with weakened immune systems.

Related stories: