CHICAGO (CBS) — The Illinois Department of Public Health is warning people to avoid buying papaya from Mexico right now because several illnesses have been linked to the fruit.

The danger is salmonella.

Heath department spokeswoman Melaney Arnold says eight people have been hospitalized in Illinois after eating papaya from Mexico.

Arnold says the salmonella outbreak involves several states.

“Ninety-seven cases have been reported for this strain of salmonella with the outbreak,” Arnold said. “Texas has the most cases so far, and Illinois has the second most.”

There have been 17 cases of salmonella in Illinois associated with papaya from Mexico, including five cases in Chicago and four in suburban Cook County.

All the other Illinois cases are in the northern part of the state.

Arnold says the most recent Illinois cases of salmonella were reported about a month ago, but she says people are still being advised not to buy papaya from Mexico.

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