April 24, 2018

Alabama Eastern Star Baptist Church Salmonella Outbreak Grows to 67 Sick

The foodborne illness outbreak at a funeral at the Eastern Star Baptist Church in York, Alabama has grown to include at least 67 out of 100 or more people according to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH). The meal was served after a funeral on July 6, 2013. Five people have Salmonella Heidelberg infections as confirmed by the Alabama Bureau of Clinical Laboratories. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is conducting tests on additional environmental and clinical samples.

SalmonellaSeveral people have been hospitalized in this outbreak, some in serious condition, according to the news release. The illness has affected people in at least 10 states. Dr. Mary McIntyre, Assistant State Health Officer for Disease Control and Prevention for Alabama said, “if you attended this event and are ill, please contact your physician.”

Symptoms of salmonellosis include diarrhea, which may be bloody, stomach cramps, and fever. Even if you have only a mild illness, long term complications of a Salmonella infection can be severe. You can find more information about Salmonella from the ADPH’s fact sheet.

No specific food or drink has been cited as the cause of the outbreak, but public health officials are advising the public on ways to avoid this infection. Salmonella is found in raw and undercooked meat and eggs. Do not eat or drink foods containing raw or undercooked eggs or drink raw milk. Do not eat undercooked or raw meat or chicken. Wash your hands, work surfaces, and utensils with soap and water after they come into contact with raw meat, eggs, or chicken. Wash your hands well after going to the bathroom or changing diapers. Use a 1:10 bleach solution to disinfect surfaces. Do not use the same cutting boards and surfaces for preparing fruits and vegetables and raw meats. And do not work with raw chicken or meat and an infant (feeding, diaper changing) at the same time.

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