Update: Salmonella and Clostridium perfringens have sickened at least 125 people in Caldwell Parish, Louisiana. The outbreak is associated with a Caldwell High School football team fundraiser. Jambalaya is the suspected cause of at least some of the illnesses, according to the Louisiana Department of Health.
The event took place on October 16, 2017 and was supported by many local businesses. Public health began receiving reports of illnesses a few days later. Thirty-seven people have been hospitalized because they are so sick. The patient age range is now from 15 to 72. An estimated 300 people attended the Caldwell High School football team fund raiser.
Clostridium perfringens food poisoning would explain why so many people got sick so quickly. The toxin that causes those illnesses can make you sick within a few hours, while Salmonella infections usually don’t appear for up to three days.
The jambalaya served at the fundraiser that may be at the center of this outbreak is being tested. The majority of those sickened ate that dish. Several ingredients used to make the jambalaya are being tested individually. The results of these tests will most likely not be available until next week.
Officials have requested an autopsy for a 56-year-old man who died this week. They are not sure if his death is linked to this outbreak, but it may be. He did attend the event on Monday and reportedly ate the jambalaya.
Preliminary laboratory results taken from five patients have tested positive for Salmonella. Officials believe that the case count will grow, because it can take time between when a person becomes ill and they visit the doctor and have tests done.
Public health officials are asking that anyone who bought food from this fundraiser throw it away, including side items that may have come into contact with the jambalaya. Wash your hands well with soap and water after handling these items.
Food poisoning outbreaks are not uncommon at events and fundraisers. When large quantities of food are handled, mistakes can be made, including undercooking meat, cross-contamination, and holding food at unsafe temperatures.
Officials are asking that anyone who attended the event contact them. When investigating food poisoning outbreaks, public health will interview as many people as possible, whether they have been sickened or not. That information can help narrow down the list of suspect foods and can help solve the outbreak. Call 1-800-256-2748 and say that you attended the fundraiser. Officials are also testing food samples, interviewing food handlers, and conducting traceback investigations to discover where the potential contamination occurred.
The symptoms of a Salmonella infection include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea that may be bloody, abdominal cramps, and a fever. If you attended that event and have been experiencing these symptoms, see your doctor. He will order laboratory tests on stool or blood to see if you have been sickened by the pathogenic bacteria. If so, public health officials will order a pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) or whole genome sequencing (WGS) test on the bacteria to find the DNA fingerprint. If that fingerprint matches others sickened at the same event, you are part of this outbreak.
The number of people hospitalized in this outbreak is abnormally large. The usual hospitalization rate for Salmonella outbreaks is about 20%. The percentage of people hospitalized in this outbreak is 63%. We don’t know why this is the case. In other Salmonella outbreaks with high hospitalization rates, the bacteria have been resistant to antibiotics, or have been especially virulent.
If your illness was caused by Salmonella, and if the strain that sickened you was the same strain found in other patients, you may be able to sue for damages. Our Salmonella lawyers have litigated thousands of cases just like yours. We hire medical and financial experts to help our lawyers determine how much compensation you deserve. You may be able to recover damages for medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering.
If your loved one died after a Salmonella infection, we are very sorry for your loss. Talk to one of our attorneys because you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. These cases can be complicated, and you need an attorney with the resources and experience to investigate and litigate your case.
We have years of experience in foodborne illness cases, and have won millions in recovery for our clients. Contact our law firm for a free consultation. We do not get paid unless we win a settlement for you.