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Gainesville Florida Salmonella Outbreak – Source Maybe Boxed Lunches

Posted in Our Blog,Outbreaks & Recalls,Salmonella on November 11, 2019

The Department of Health in Alachua County has announced an outbreak of Salmonella illnesses linked to boxed lunches prepared by a local church. Here is everything we know about this Gainesville Florida Salmonella Outbreak:

The Outbreak

News reports confirmed that health inspectors are investigating a salmonella outbreak that has sickened at least 47 people in Gainesville.

The source of the outbreak, the statement said, appears to be box lunches prepared by a local religious/cultural community. The department has not yet identified a specific food linked to the illness.

Trang Le, a volunteer and member at the Tu Vien A Nan Buddhist Temple, 2120 SE 15th St. in Gainesville, said the food was prepared at a woman’s house to be delivered to other members of the Vietnamese community before she and others left town for the weekend.

When Le returned, she said, several people she knew had experienced sharp stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea and fever. Many people required hospitalization.

“For those who became sick, we wish them well and to get well soon,” Le said.

Salmonella Symptoms

Salmonella infection is usually caused by eating raw or undercooked meat, poultry, eggs or egg products. The incubation period ranges from several hours to two days. Most salmonella infections can be classified as stomach flu (gastroenteritis). Possible signs and symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Blood in the stool

Signs and symptoms of salmonella infection generally last two to seven days. Diarrhea may last up to 10 days, although it may take several months before bowels return to normal.

A few varieties of salmonella bacteria result in typhoid fever, a sometimes deadly disease that is more common in developing countries.

Causes of Salmonella Food Poisoning

Salmonella bacteria live in the intestines of people, animals and birds. Most people are infected with salmonella by eating foods that have been contaminated by feces. Commonly infected foods include:

  • Raw meat, poultry and seafood. Feces may get onto raw meat and poultry during the butchering process. Seafood may be contaminated if harvested from contaminated water.
  • Raw eggs. While an egg’s shell may seem to be a perfect barrier to contamination, some infected chickens produce eggs that contain salmonella before the shell is even formed. Raw eggs are used in homemade versions of mayonnaise and hollandaise sauce.
  • Fruits and vegetables. Some fresh produce, particularly imported varieties, may be hydrated in the field or washed during processing with water contaminated with salmonella. Contamination also can occur in the kitchen, when juices from raw meat and poultry come into contact with uncooked foods, such as salads.

The Food and Drug Administration also indicates that some salmonella outbreaks have been traced to contaminants in spices. The agency is seeking ways to increase the safety of spices.

Many foods become contaminated when prepared by people who don’t wash their hands thoroughly after using the toilet or changing a diaper. Infection also can occur if you touch something that is contaminated, including pets, especially birds and reptiles, and then put your fingers in your mouth.

What You Need To Know About Salmonella

CDC estimates Salmonella causes about 1.2 million illnesses, 23,000 hospitalizations, and 450 deaths in the United States every year. Food is the source for about 1 million of these illnesses.

  • Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most persons recover without treatment.
  • However, in some persons, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized.

Diagnosing salmonellosis requires testing a clinical specimen (such as stool or blood) from an infected person to distinguish it from other illnesses that can cause diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. Once Salmonella is identified in the specimen, additional testing can be done to further characterize the Salmonella.

Steps in Laboratory Testing and Reporting Salmonella

  • Laboratory scientists identify Salmonella infection by culturing a patient’s sample. If Salmonella bacteria grow, then the diagnosis is confirmed, or in laboratory-terms, “culture confirmed.”
  • Clinical diagnostic laboratories report the test results to the treating clinician and submit Salmonella isolates to state and territorial public health laboratories for serotyping and DNA fingerprinting.
  • The public health laboratories report the results to CDC’s Laboratory-based Enteric Disease Surveillance and to PulseNet
  • The public health laboratories forward atypical serotypes to CDC’s National Salmonella Reference Laboratory for more characterization or confirmation.

    How The Lange Law Firm Can Help

    Our mission is to help families who have been harmed by contaminated food or water.  When corporations cause Salmonella food poisoning outbreaks or Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks, we use the law to hold them accountable.  The Lange Law Firm is the only law firm in the nation solely focused on representing families in food poisoning lawsuits and Legionnaires disease lawsuits.

    If you got sick in the Gainesville Florida Salmonella Outbreak and are interested in making a legal claim for compensation, we can help.  Our Salmonella lawyer can help you pursue compensation for your Salmonella infection.  Call us for a free no obligation legal consultation at (833) 330-3663 or send us an e-mail here.

    By: Candess Zona-Mendola, Editor (Non-Lawyer)