According to Gaylen Erlichman of the Buncombe County Department of Health, as of 1:00 pm April 30, 2012 there are 37 cases of Salmonella Paratyphi B in the current outbreak. The bacteria causes an illness called paratyphoid fever, similar to typhoid fever. All of the patients either live in Buncombe County or have visited there.
The outbreak began on February 28, 2012. Officials have not yet pinpointed a source. This bacterium is very contagious. It’s found in the intestinal tract of humans, and is spread when someone goes to the bathroom, doesn’t wash their hands properly, then touches food or other objects.
Ill persons can be carriers of the bacteria for as long as one year and can spread it through handling or preparing food. The incubation period, or time between exposure and the onset of illness, can range from one to four weeks.
Symptoms of the infection include diarrhea, which can be bloody, a gradually increasing and sustained fever, severe headache, a non-productive cough, and rose spots on the body.
If you have had any of these symptoms and live in or have visited Buncombe County, North Carolina in the last two months, see your doctor immediately. Antibiotics are the best treatment for this infection.
A voluntary recall of unpasteurized soybean tempeh that has tested positive for Salmonella was made late Monday by Smiling Hara, a company that uses shared kitchen facilities at Blue Ridge Food Ventures in Buncombe County. Investigators don’t yet know if this recall is linked to the outbreak.