In a follow-up on the foodborne disease outbreak in the small town of Columbia, LA, officials with the Louisiana Department of Health are reporting that 125 people have been identified with gastrointestinal illness, including three dozen hospitalizations.
One death has been reported. Health officials are conferring with the pathologist conducting the autopsy and CDC to determine whether or not the death can be attributed to the outbreak.
Laboratory samples taken from several individuals have tested positive for Salmonella.
All fingers are pointing at jambalaya served at a softball fundraising event Monday, in which some 300 people may have taken part in.
In addition, media reports are saying that a second foodborne culprit may play a part in the growing outbreak–Clostridium perfringens.
“When we got the samples, we continued to test for toxins,” Dr. Parham Jaberi, assistant state health officer said. “These are organisms that, when they are ingested, they release a toxin that gets you sick. What that means is that people usually become sicker in fewer hours after eating foods.”
Clostridium perfringens is a type of bacteria that can be found in a variety of foods, particularly meats, meat products, and gravy. Complications from C. perfingens occur when food is left at an unsafe temperature, and bacteria multiply in the food prior to consumption.
Emetic toxins produced by Clostridium perfringens bacteria are characterized by intense abdominal cramps and diarrhea which begin 8-22 hours after consumption of foods containing large numbers of those Clostridium perfringens bacteria capable of producing the toxin. The illness is usually over within 24 hours but less severe symptoms may persist in some individuals for 1 or 2 weeks.
Officials ask that those who may have purchased food from the fundraiser in Columbia, throw away any food not consumed, including sides that may have come in contact with the jambalaya. The investigation is ongoing.
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