A Salmonella outbreak at a private event near Muscle Shoals, Alabama last weekend has sickened at least 77 people and hospitalized 12, according to a press release from the Alabama Department of Public Health. All of the patients are recovering, according to Dr. Karen Landers, Assistant State Health Officer.
The event was held in Colbert County on Saturday, November 12, 2016. Food and patient specimens have been collected and processed by the Alabama Department of Public Health’s laboratory. Initial patient specimens have tested “presumptive positive” for Salmonella, according to the press release. Public health officials have been interviewing patients, inspecting the food source, and obtaining samples of food served at the event.
The testing on the food samples is pending, since it takes longer to process those types of specimens. The caterer who provided the food, who was not named by the health department, is cooperating with the investigation and is no longer preparing food.
Noted food safety attorney Ryan Osterholm said, “no one should be sickened with a serious illness simply because they chose to attend a private event on a weekend. Caterers and restaurants have a legal responsibility to provide food that is wholesome and safe to eat.”
Dr. Landers said that, “The health department’s priorities are the health of the patients, a thorough investigation, and preventing any additional illness. This was a private event with exposure to the food over a specific time period. Therefore, there is no threat to the general public.”
Those who were sickened experienced vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, and fever, which are classic symptoms of a Salmonella infection. The incubation period for this illness ranges form 6 to 72 hours. Most people recover within a week or so without medical intervention, but some, as in this particular outbreak, become so ill they must be hospitalized.
The typical hospitalization rate for a Salmonella outbreak is about 20%. In this outbreak, 15.6% of those sickened have been hospitalized. Most hospitalizations are for dehydration or sepsis.
If you or a family member has been sickened in this outbreak, contact our experienced food poisoning attorneys for help. You can fill out our online consultation request form, or call 1-888-377-8900.