The Estill County Health Department is investigating a Salmonella outbreak in that area that has sickened at least 41 people. Nineteen of those people have been confirmed as having a Salmonella infection. Six of those patients, including at least one child, have been hospitalized, and three are currently still in the hospital.
The Estill County Health Department is working with the Kentucky Health Department to try to discover the source of the outbreak. Isolates from patients are going to be tested with pulsed field-gel-electrophoresis to determine the DNA of the outbreak strain and where it came from. The Environmental Program Director at the Estill County Health Department, Kenny Cole, told Lex18.com that “all of the 19 positive cases, the one thing they do have in common, they had all eaten at the same establishment. But they had also eaten at other establishments.” The Health Department is not releasing the name of the “common establishment” until the investigation is further along.
There is another stomach illness in the same area with similar symptoms, but it only lasts for 48 hours. If you live in the area and are sick with the symptoms of Salmonella food poisoning that last more than 48 hours, please call the Estill County Health Department at 606-723-5181.
The symptoms of a Salmonella infection include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea that may be bloody, fever, chills, headache, and muscle pains. These symptoms usually appear six to seventy-two hours after infection and last for a few days up to a week. Those who can develop complications from this infection include young children, the elderly, those with compromised immune systems, and anyone with a chronic illness.
Most people recover on their own without treatment, but some, as in this outbreak, become so ill they must be hospitalized. If you have experienced these symptoms, please see your doctor. The long term complications of a Salmonella infection can be serious, including Reiter’s Syndrome, which can cause reactive arthritis, high blood pressure, and irritable bowel syndrome. Your doctor should be aware of this illness so it is on your chart in case problems develop in the future. And if you are sick, stay at home, especially if you work at a food establishment, at a daycare or school, or in the health care industry.
Salmonella cases are notoriously underreported to officials. Public health officials use a multiplier of 30.3 in Salmonella outbreaks. That means there could be more than 1,200 people sick in this particular outbreak.