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Just Put Down the Tomato and Back Away Slowly -- and Panic! Or Don't.

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At last, a good excuse not to eat raw tomatoes: They will kill you! Well, probably not, but today the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a release announcing a "multistate outbreak of human Salmonella serotype Saintpaul infections" found in large tomatoes, "including Roma and red round." And, of course, one of those states among the multi is Texas. And Dallas County is heavily involved in the investigation. Notes Dallas County Health and Human Services in a media release this morning:

"To date, there have been 21 cases of the Saintpaul strain of the Salmonella bacteria reported in Texas. The majority of these cases have been reported in Harris County but a few cases also reported in Dallas, Tarrant, Cameron, Fort Bend, and Hays counties. State Health authorities say the investigation is in its early stages but that consumption of raw tomatoes is the likely source of infection. Specific type and source of tomatoes are under investigation."

Folks began getting sick around May 6, with such symptoms as "diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection." Is it lunch already? --Robert Wilonsky

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