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SEAFOOD SALAD ON AIRLINER BLAMED FOR CHOLERA OUTBREAK

Los Angeles health officals said Friday an outbreak of cholera that struck at least 76 people, killing one, who flew on an Argentine airliner last month, was most likely caused by a contaminated seafood salad.

The Los Angeles County Department of Health, which launched an investigation into the outbreak, said seafood salad was most likely put on board the plane in Lima, Peru."Analysis of data from the studies indicates seafood salad," Shirley Fannin, the county's director of disease control programs, told a news conference.

"The seafood salad, as far as we can determine, was put on in Lima," she said.

Fannin said health officials were unable to determine the exact method of transmission of the cholera bacteria through the salad, which had 13 ingredients.

"When you're looking at something that has that many things in it, it's not possible to say what went wrong and where," she said.

Meanwhile, the Argentine government said Friday that the outbreak was caused by a seafood salad taken aboard during a stopover in Peru.

Commenting on the Los Angeles report, Health Minister Julio Cesar Araoz said: "The report from the United States shows the only significant components which could be associated with cholera were those which formed a seafood salad."

Of the cases of cholera, 71 were in the United States, four in Japan, and one in Argentina. There were 32 cases in Los Angeles, including a 70-year-old male passenger who died and eight others who were hospitalized and have recovered.

Fannin said that the investigation included more than 170 interviews with passengers and one crew member.