As health authorities search for the source, a restaurant-related salmonella outbreak has sickened another 140 people and spread to six more states, according to the Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC).
The increases raise the total number of victims to 419 individuals in 35 states. The number requiring hospitalization rose by 40, to 66 people.
The highest concentration of infections was recorded in Texas and Virginia.
Authorities say they expect more victims to come forward as awareness of the outbreak spreads and more people show symptoms of having ingested the bacteria. The ailments caused by salmonella can take three to four weeks to emerge.
The infections are believed to have occurred between June 19 and Sept. 14.
Attempts to trace the outbreak back to its source led investigators to an empty condiments cup that had been used for a restaurant’s mixture of cilantro, limes and onions. Because the cup no longer contained all of the ingredients, the CDC said it could not identify which food might have carried the salmonella bacteria.
The agency has not released the name or location of the restaurant that provided the cup. Nor has it indicated how many establishments may be involved.
Restaurants and consumers are advised by the CDC to follow such safety protocols as keeping uncooked food away from raw chicken, beef or seafood, and to heat any cooked item to temperatures that are known to kill bacteria.
A map showing the states where the outbreak has been detected is provided here.