According to the North Carolina Department of Heath and Human Services, the Salmonella outbreak among those who ate at the Tarheel Q restaurant has now sickened 197 people in 7 states as of noon Friday June 26, 2015. Those people are sick with a diarrheal illness. The restaurant is located on Highway 64 in Lexington, North Carolina.
Laboratory testing has found that the BBQ sample and a sample from a patient who become sick at the beginning of the outbreak are both positive for Salmonella Typhimurium. Both samples have the same DNA, or PFGE fingerprint.
More than 20 additional clinical specimens are pending results at the state laboratory. Of those 197 patients, 54% are male, 43% are between the ages of 20 and 49. Most of the patients who live in North Carolina are from Davidson and Davie counties.
Twenty percent of all of these patients have visited a doctor about their illness, and 11% have visited a hospital emergency room. Seven percent of those sickened have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported. Eighty-two percent of the cases had illness onset dates between Tuesday June 16, 2015 and Sunday, June 21, 2015.
Noted food safety attorney Fred Pritzker said, “this is a very large outbreak and more than a dozen people are seriously ill. The multiplier for a Salmonella outbreak calculated by public health officials is 30.3. That means that in all likelihood, there could be close to 6,000 people sickened. Those who are ill need to have their legal rights protected.”
The symptoms of a Salmonella infection include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. They usually develop within 12 to 72 hours after exposure to the pathogenic bacteria. Most people recover after about a week, but others become so ill they must be hospitalized. Thirteen people have been hospitalized in this outbreak.
If you have been experiencing these symptoms and you ate at the Tarheel Q restaurant, see your doctor. The long term complications of a Salmonella infection can be serious, including reactive arthritis, high blood pressure, colitis, and heart problems.
In addition, if you ate at the restaurant and got sick within four days, on or after June 6, 2015, call the Davidson County Health Department’s hotline at 336-242-2300. Information from everyone affected is important to help officials solve the outbreak.