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Elizabeth Cooney is a health reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
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Thursday, February 15, 2007

5 cases of salmonella in Mass. linked to peanut butter

The nation's first salmonella outbreak linked to peanut butter has stricken almost 300 people since August in 39 states, including Massachusetts.

In Massachusetts, five cases of salmonella linked to peanut butter have been reported across the state from mid-November through mid-January, state Department of Public Health spokeswoman Donna Rheaume said today. There have been no deaths or serious illnesses, and all the people who got sick are expected to recover, she said.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating how salmonella got into peanut butter made by ConAgra Foods Inc. at a Georgia factory. The company has told consumers to discard or return jars of Peter Pan or Great Value peanut butter with a product code beginning 2111.

Symptoms of salmonella include diarrhea, fever, dehydration, abdominal pain, and vomiting. Cases linked to peanut butter have also been reported in Connecticut, Maine, and Vermont.

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