A Salmonella outbreak at a Lascassas Fire Department Fish Fry in Tennessee has sickened at least 54 people, Woody McMillin, Director of Communication and Media Relations of the Tennessee Department of Health told Food Poisoning Bulletin. That event was held on September 10, 2016.
Public health officials have not been able to determine the cause of this outbreak. The investigation is continuing with patient interviews and laboratory testing. The outbreak was discovered after clinicians in Rutherford County started reporting Salmonella cases.
As of Friday, September 23, 2016, there are 54 possible cases. Eight of those cases have been lab-confirmed. Fourteen people have been hospitalized because their illnesses are so serious. There is no word on patient age range, dates of illness onset, or whether those hospitalized have been released or not.
More than 400 people attended that event. The menu at the Fish Fry included fried fish, fried chicken, homemade white beans, slaw, and a variety of other dishes. The fire department is cooperating with the health department to try to find the source of this outbreak.
Salmonella infections can be caused by just about any food. The bacteria is most commonly found on chicken, but it can get onto any food through cross-contamination. Salmonella bacteria are killed by cooking, but foods are often cross-contaminated after they are heated.
People are posting on the Famous Lascassas Facebook page about their illnesses. Some sick people have been ill for at least a week.
The symptoms of a Salmonella infection include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea that may be bloody, fever, chills, headache, and muscle pain. These symptoms usually begin about six to seventy-two hours after exposure to the pathogenic bacteria.
Most people are sick for about a week, and most get better without medical intervention. However, some people can be so sick, especially if the infection gets into the bloodstream or they have a chronic health problem, that they need to be hospitalized.
A Salmonella infection can lead to lifelong health complications. The most common complication is called Reiter’s Syndrome, which can lead to reactive arthritis and irritation of the eyes. High blood pressure and irritable bowel syndrome are also possible complications of this illness.
If you ate at the Lascassas Fire Department Fish Fry on September 10, 2016 and have experienced these symptoms, please see your doctor. Your help may solve this outbreak, and this illness should be noted on your medical chart.