According to Beverly Clark Levinson, Community Health Specialist for the Buncombe County Department of Health, as of May 8, 2012 there are 55 cases of Salmonella Paratyphi B associated with the outbreak.
She stated, “this number does not include cases being reported in other counties or states. The North Carolina Department of Health is gathering case reports from all counties and states and reports 50 cases to date, which indicates a slight delay in reporting because cases must first be entered into a statewide electronic reporting system.”
The Buncombe County Department of Health says that the initial cases probably resulted from eating contaminated recalled tempeh from Smiling Hara. Person to person transmission is most likely occurring at this time. Anyone who contracts the infection at this time has come into contact with small amounts of infected feces.
Public health officials urge consumers to pay attention to hygiene and make good hand-washing a habit. Always use soap and hot water when hand-washing, and wash hands as long as it takes you to sing the “ABC” song. Pay special attention to fingernails and the area around the fingernails.
Cross-contamination is still possible, so disinfect utensils and any containers that may have come into contact with the recalled tempeh.
The recall is still in place. If you have purchased the recalled tempeh, return it to the place of purchase for a full refund. Wash hands properly, cook food thoroughly, and follow instructions from the Department of Health regarding recalls.