The case count of those sickened with Salmonella after eating at the Sandy Plains Baptist Church earlier this month has increased to 71. Thirteen people have been hospitalized in this outbreak. Those who are ill live in Rutherford County and Cleveland County, North Carolina. Public health officials in Cleveland County still do not know the source of the bacteria.
Officials believe that the outbreak is not growing; more people are included in the outbreak because doctors are reporting the illnesses to the public health department, which takes time. However, people may still have some food from the event in their home freezers. If so, that food should be discarded immediately.
Salmonella infections are usually caused by eating contaminated food, such as undercooked chicken or meat or drinking unpasteurized milk or juice. Unfortunately, a public health nurse in Beaufort County has said that looking at food to see if it’s undercooked is something consumers should do to protect themselves against food poisoning. Color of food is not a good indicator of doneness. The only way to tell if food is properly cooked to a safe temperature is to use a reliable food thermometer during preparation. And food must kept above 140 degrees F or below 40 degrees F after cooking to ensure that bacteria do not grow.
The symptoms of a Salmonella infection include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, fever, chills, headache, and muscle pains. If you attended that barbecue and have experienced those symptoms, please see your health care provider and tell her you ate at that venue.