Church leaders at Bethesda United Methodist Church in Parker County, Texas have told members not to talk about Salmonella outbreak linked to a community meal served at the church. At least 30 people were sickened, children were among those who ended up in the emergency room. One person was admitted to the intensive care unit.
The Texas Department of State Health Services is investigating the outbreak. A food source has not yet been determined.
On the church’s Facebook page, the youth pastor says church staff don’t think it is in the best interest of the church to talk to the media and asked members to refrain from posting or sharing information about the outbreak, according to the Stillwater News Press.
Salmonella bacteria live in the intestines of animals and are shed in their feces. Contamination can happen during slaughter, in the growing fields or through cross contamination from a sick person or other contaminated food. Disease is transmitted when food tainted with microscopic amounts of fecal material is ingested.
The infection called salmonellosis causes diarrhea that can be bloody, abdominal cramps, and fever. Usually these symptoms develop within six to 72 hours after exposure and last up to a week. But for some people, the diarrhea may be so severe that hospitalization is required. A small percentage of patients who are hospitalized develop a blood infection that can be life-threatening. Seniors, children and those with weakened immune systems are most likely to develop a severe illness.
After initial symptoms resolve, long-term complications of salmonellosis can develop. These include heart problems and reactive arthritis which causes painful swelling of the joints and irritable bowel syndrome.
Recently, there have been a number of Salmonella outbreaks. A Salmonella Poona outbreak linked to cucumbers imported by Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce of San Diego has sickened 732 people, killing four of them. The fatalities have occurred in Oklahoma, Arizona, California, and Texas. A Salmonella outbreak at Fig & Olive locations in Washington DC and California sickened as many as 160 people.
Two Salmonella outbreaks linked to raw, frozen breaded chicken products have sickened a dozen people in four states. One of them, linked to Chicken a la Kiev and other products produced by Aspen Foods of Chicago has sickened five people in Minnesota. The recalled products were sold nationwide under the brand names Acclaim, Antioch Farms, Buckley Farms, Centrella Signature, Chestnut Farms, Family Favorites, Kirkwood, Koch Foods, Market Day, Oven Cravers, Rose, Rosebud Farm, Roundy’s, Safeway Kitchens, Schwan’s, Shaner’s, Spartan and Sysco.
Another outbreak linked to Chicken a la Kiev and other breaded chicken products produced by Barber Foods of Maine has sickened nine people in four states: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Oklahoma. Three people were hospitalized.
The Salmonella outbreak linked to Barber frozen chicken entrees has expanded to four states sickening nine people and hospitalizing three of them. Six cases have been reported in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Oklahoma have each reported one case.
A lawsuit has been filed of behalf of a man from Lake Elmo, Minnesota who became ill after eating eating a contaminated Chicken Kiev entree they purchased from a Sam’s Club store.