Johnny Ray’s on Huntley Parkway in Pelham Ala. has been temporarily closed in the wake of a Salmonella outbreak that has sickened at least four people. Test results expected this week may reveal the food item contaminated with a rare strain of Salmonella Enteritidis.
The health department visited popular barbecue restaurant three times in late December and early January. What they found prompted the temporary closure, but details of those inspections have not yet been made public. In October 2015, the most current food establishment score posted, the Alabama Department of Public Health gave the location a score of 94.
Symptoms of a Salmonella infection include vomiting, diarrhea that can be bloody, fever, chills, muscle aches, headache, abdominal cramps, and nausea. Symptoms usually develop within six to 72 hours of exposure and last about a week.
After initial symptoms of a Salmonella infection resolve, long term complications are possible. They include reactive arthritis, which causes eye irritation and painful swelling of the joints; irritable bowel syndrome, and heart problems.
Those most at risk for Salmonella poisoning are children, seniors and those with compromised immune systems. These groups are also at elevated risk for complications of infections.
In a news release about the outbreak, State Epidemiologist Dr. Mary G. McIntyre said people could reduce their risk of Salmonella by: “avoiding raw or undercooked eggs, poultry or other meats, thoroughly washing produce, and following safe food handling practices during food preparation. Hand washing, keeping uncooked food away from cooked food, and using clean plates and utensils are some important ways to minimize food contamination. People should also wash their hands after contact with animals and animal feces.”