One case of Salmonella reported

KINGMAN - A Bullhead City area resident is recovering from Salmonella Tennessee infection, which may be linked to contaminated peanut butter produced by ConAgra at its plant in Sylvester, Ga.

"We suspect that case is linked to peanut butter and our nursing division is doing an investigation with the state Health Department to determine if there is a link," said Jennifer McNally, assistant director and public information officer for the Mohave County Department of Public Health.

McNally could not say if the Bullhead area victim is a man or woman.

A news release from the Arizona Department of Health Services states five cases have been identified in the state.

Victims are males and females with age ranges of 47-76. In addition to one case in Mohave, there are two confirmed cases in Pima County and one each in Maricopa and Cochise counties.

Four of the victims did not require hospitalization and the other she is unsure about, McNally said.

Salmonella is a food borne infection commonly linked to undercooked eggs and chicken. It can cause fever, diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal cramps 12-72 hours after infection.

The elderly, infants and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to have a severe reaction and require hospitalization. Most people recover in 4-7 days without medical treatment, the news release states.

ConAgra issued a recall Wednesday of all Peter Pan and Great Value peanut butter beginning with product code No. 2111. The company is destroying affected products in its possession and will cease further production of peanut butter until the exact cause of the contamination is identified and eliminated, a news release on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Web site states.

McNally offered one possible explanation of how Salmonella could get into peanut butter.

"One way it spreads, along with other food borne illnesses, is by people not washing their hands after going to the bathroom," she said. "I don't know if that is the situation in these cases, as the FDA is still investigating."

Salmonella can invade the bloodstream and lead to life-threatening infections.

The FDA and state Health Department are urging consumers with any peanut butter with those product codes purchased since May to dispose of it.

Great Value is a brand marketed by Wal-Mart. A check of the store's shelves Thursday afternoon found it had been pulled, along with all Peter Pan peanut butter.

Smith's, both Safeway stores and Bashas' in Kingman also have removed Peter Pan from their shelves.

McNally is asking consumers to assist her department.

"If you have peanut butter with the product code 2111 and nobody in your household has gotten sick then discard it," she said.

"However, we are asking anyone with symptoms of Salmonella to keep that peanut butter stored at room temperature where nobody else will get into it. Seek care from your doctor, and let him or her know you have eaten some of the peanut butter with that code."

"If your testing comes back positive, we would be interested in that jar for testing."

Salmonella is diagnosed through testing of stool and/or urine samples, McNally said.