June 6, 2020

Lincoln Correctional Center Salmonella Outbreak Sickens 6 in Nebraska

A Lincoln Correctional Center Salmonella outbreak in Nebraska has sickened at least six inmates, according to a press release by the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services. Food poisoning outbreaks at prisons and jails are fairly common because of close quarters and serving large quantities of food.

Lincoln Correctional Center Salmonella Outbreak Sickens 6 in Nebraska

However, none of the inmates incarcerated during the Lincoln Correctional Center Salmonella outbreak were tested when they got sick. All are recovering from their symptoms. Most of the patients were from one particular housing unit at the LCC.

Dr. Harbans Deol, medical director at the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (NDCS) said that it is likely that all of the patients consumed something that caused their illnesses. “Salmonella is one of those medical conditions that affects people in a multitude of ways,” he added. “Some individuals will have no symptoms at all or will only have a mild reaction. However, the bacterial infection can be more severe in those who already have compromised immune systems.”

Director Scott R. Frakes said, “We may never be able to pinpoint the exact source of the salmonella. Whatever food was consumed is long gone.”

However, there are other ways to test for pathogens in an institutional kitchen. Environmental swabs may reveal the pathogen, and investigators can look for symptoms in food workers. No staff members from either facility have reported illness.

Two of the inmates were sent to a hospital outside the prison for treatment. One was admitted because he was so sick.

Attorney Fred Pritzker

You can contact food safety attorney Fred Pritzker for help by calling 1-888-377-8900 or 612-338-0202.

NDCS has been working with the Lincoln/Lancaster County Health Department and the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services since the illnesses began on or around November 22, 2019. The most recent illness onset date was December 6, 2019.

Frakes added, “Despite the fact that food service operations are shared between LCC and the Diagnostic and Evaluation Center (DEC), no one on the DEC side became ill. That indicates to us it was not a food item that was served to everyone. Rather, it seems this was an isolated food item, possibly hidden away by some individuals, which was not properly stored and then was eaten.”

When the first illnesses were reported, the kitchen, serving, and dining areas at LCC/DEC were disinfected. LCC/DEC Warden Taggart Boyd said, “When you serve meals to as many people as we do, proper food handling is of the utmost importance. This recent situation presents an opportunity to reinforce training and proper procedures”

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