July 17, 2018

Salmonella Outbreak in Alabama Associated with Funeral at Baptist Church

The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) is investigating a foodborne illness outbreak that has sickened at least 36 people who ate food at a funeral served at the Eastern Star Baptist Church in York. The meal was served around noon on July 6, 2013.

Salmonella bacteriaReports are that at least 30 people have been hospitalized, some in serious condition. Since more than 100 people attended the funeral, there may be more reports of illness. The investigation has involved hospitals in at least nine states: Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, and Oklahoma. Preliminary test results from the Alabama Bureau of Clinical Laboratories are positive for Salmonella bacteria.

The investigation began on July 8, after a local hospital reported to the ADPH that 25 people sought emergency room care with symptoms of fever, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. Those are the classic symptoms of a Salmonella infection. Dr. Mary McIntyre, Assistant State Health Officer for Disease Control and Prevention said, “if you attended this event and are ill, please contact your physician.”

Complications of salmonellosis, the infection caused by the Salmonella bacteria, can be severe, including dehydration and bacteremia, a potentially life-threatening infection of the blood. Reiter’s syndrome, which causes reactive arthritis, can be a complication of the illness. Even if you have only a mild case of illness, long term consequences of a foodborne illness can be severe. And those in high risk groups, including the very young, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems, can be seriously ill.

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