Two lawsuits have been filed in connection with a Salmonella outbreak Supermercado Los Corrales at 3933 52nd Street in Kenosha, Wis. Seventy people who ate the pork carnitas Mother’s Day weekend May 8th-10th became sick. Of those, 35 have laboratory confirmed cases.
Many families visited Los Corrales over Mother’s Day weekend. But the meat counter and food preparation areas at the store were closed after the county health department began receiving reports of illness. Those areas remaining closed during the outbreak investigation but reopened yesterday after it was cleaned and inspected by health officials.
Salmonella poisoning causes vomiting and diarrhea that can be bloody. Symptoms, which usually appear between six and 72 hours after exposure, last for a about a week.
The Vela family of Kenosha were among those who were sickened. Kenneth and Melissa Vela, have filed a lawsuit on behalf of themselves and their three children Andrew, Elizabeth and Jacob.
The Velas purchased pork carnitas from Los Corrales May 9 and ate them that day. The next night they began to feel ill, experiencing nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea and headaches. The symptoms intensified over several days and the Velas brought their children to a hospital where they received treatment, according to a report from Fox6 News. It was there that they were diagnosed with Salmonella infections.
“We’ve all lost weight because we couldn’t eat or because we’ve just been, you know, vomiting or diarrhea and it’s just been horrible,” Vela told Fox 6 News.
Although the family has recovered, they’ve missed work and school and despite having health insurance, have beed saddled with more than $10,000 in medical bills. “It’s just astronomical,” he said.
The Silva family, Martin, Leticia and Oscar, had a similar experience. They have also filed a lawsuit.
The Kenosha County Division of Health began an investigation May 15 after receiving several reports of illness. The meat counter was closed during the investigation after Salmonella was discovered in the pork carnitas and the strain was found to match the strain cultured from those sickened.
People who became ill have submitted stool samples for testing. So far, 35 of them have tested positive for Salmonella. Another 35 people have reported symptoms consistent with Salmonella poisoning.
Salmonella is a bacteria that is transmitted when food or beverages contaminated with microscopic amounts of human or animal feces are ingested. This can happen when food is not cooked thoroughly or handled properly, through cross contamination or poor hygiene of food workers.
Complications of Salmonella poisoning include reactive arthritis, which causes painful swelling of the joints and tissues in the eye and meningitis which is a swelling of the lining of the brain.
Salmonella infections are more common in the summer months when warmer temperatures facilitate bacterial growth. Every year, about 1.2 million Americans are sickened by Salmonella. Of those, 19,000 are hospitalized and about 450 die.
Several small children were among those sickened in this outbreak, county health officials have confirmed. Those at elevated risk for Salmonella infections are children under 5, adults over 65 years old, and people with weakened immune systems. Certain medications, such as antacids, can increase the risk of food poisoning from Salmonella.