At least 25 people who have eaten meals on the UT Chattanooga campus since August 26 have been sickened by Salmonella or Campylobacter poisoning. Health officials say contaminated chicken is a possible source, but the investigation is ongoing.
Salmonella and Campylobacter infections happen when a person eats food that is contaminated with microscopic amounts of fecal matter. Food can become contaminated with these pathogens during slaughter or if it is handled by someone who has not washed his or her hands properly. That’s why it’s important to use a meat thermometer to make sure that food has been cooked to a safe internal temperature. Poultry should be cooked to 165˚F. Fish and whole cuts of pork and beef including steaks, roasts and chops that are not mechanically tenderized and have not been scored should be cooked to 145˚ F. Mechanically tenderized or scored beef and pork, ground meat, and egg dishes should be cooked to 160˚F.
Some long-term consequences are associated with food poisoning. After a Salmonella infection, some people develop reactive arthritis which causes painful swelling of the joints, irritation of the eyes, and painful urination. Campylobacter can also cause arthritis and another condition, called Guillain-Barré syndrome wich causes paralysis.