This undated photo provided by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration shows cucumbers recalled for salmonella.
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This undated photo provided by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration shows cucumbers recalled for salmonella. / AP

More than 150 people have fallen ill after being exposed to cucumbers that were possibly contaminated with salmonella, the CDC said Wednesday.

As of Tuesday, 162 reported illnesses have been linked to cucumbers distributed across 25 states and Washington, D.C. Fifty-four people have been hospitalized and no deaths have been reported, according to the CDC.

Many of the people infected were concentrated in Pennsylvania, Florida, Virginia and New York.

“The true number of sick people in this outbreak is likely much higher than the number reported, and the outbreak may not be limited to the states with known illnesses,” the CDC said.

One company, Fresh Start Produce Sales, Inc., issued a recall last week for cucumbers it distributed between May 17 and May 21 in 14 states, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia, the FDA said.

The affected produce has diameters of about 1.5 to 2 inches, and are 5 to 9 inches long. The recall does not include mini or English cucumbers.

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture first alerted the Fresh Start, based in Delray, Fla., that one of its products tested positive for salmonella.

The cucumbers are “unlikely in the marketplace,” but customers should check with local grocers to see if affected products have been sold there. Those who have purchased affected cucumbers can throw them away or return them to the store for a full refund, the FDA said.

Salmonella exposure can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever and stomach pain. It can be fatal in vulnerable populations such as children, senior citizens and people with weaker immune systems. In rare cases, it can cause conditions such as arthritis.

Tags: food recalls  CDC  FDA  salmonella