The state Department of Health announced this afternoon that 14 cases of salmonella on Oahu have been linked to eating poke prepared with raw fish and limu (seaweed).
The cases involve children and adults, who developed diarrheal illness from mid- to late October. Four cases required hospitalization.
The tainted limu comes from an Oahu seaweed farm, which was ordered to stop its operations and advise its customers to immediately remove the product from sale.
“Although our investigation is still ongoing, our preliminary investigation has implicated limu, also known as ogo or seaweed produced at a particular farm on Oahu,” state Epidemiologist Sarah Park said in a written statement.
The Health Department has stepped in to ensure none of the product is put on the market pending further investigation.
“At the same time, we want the public to be aware of the situation so they may seek medical care if needed, Park said.
Salmonella is a bacteria that can cause illness in humans who come in contact with affected animals or their waste by direct contact or by contaminated food or water.
Diarrhea, sometimes bloody, abdominal pain, fever, nausea and vomiting are some symptoms.
Symptoms typically begin within 12 to 72 hours after exposure, the Health Department said.
Infants, the elderly and those with health conditions or weakened immune systems are particularly vulnerable to serious illness and death.
Salmonella can be prevented by thoroughly cooking food to an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
Washing hands, kitchen work surfaces and utensils with soap and water can prevent the bacteria from spreading.
Handwashing is also advised after coming into contact with animals, especially birds, reptiles and pet feces.