State and county health officials in North Carolina are investigating a gastrointestinal illness outbreak among patrons of Tarheel Q Restaurant in Lexington. The Davidson County Health Department reports that they have identified over 30 individuals with signs and symptoms consistent with salmonellosis: diarrhea, stomach pain, fever, nausea, and sometimes vomiting. All ate at the same food establishment, Tarheel Q, several days before becoming ill. At least seven of the identified individuals have been hospitalized due to their illness.
“We are still investigating to determine the source (or sources) of infection. We are also actively working with restaurant management to resolve this as soon as possible,” said Davidson County Health Department Director Monecia Thomas. “We would like to thank the restaurant for their cooperation. The restaurant has been diligent and responsive during this process and we appreciate their commitment to the safety of their customers.”
The Health Department is asking anyone who became ill with diarrhea within four days after they ate food or drank beverages from Tarheel Q (6835 West US Hwy 64, Lexington, NC) on or after Saturday, June 6th to call the Davidson County Health Department at 336-236-3096. The Davidson County Health Department is opening a hotline for calls.
“We want these persons to call the health department even if they have recovered so we can ask them questions related to their food history in hopes of identifying the source of the contamination,” Thomas said.
Food purchased from the restaurant and taken home between June 6-19, 2015 should not be consumed by people or animals. Please discard any leftovers.
At this time, the restaurant has not been required by the state or local health department to close. To stop further spread of the illness, the Health Department has instructed the restaurant to implement specific control measures to ensure food temperatures are monitored and recorded prior to service. Likewise, when preparing food at home please remember that meats and eggs should be thoroughly cooked before eating, only consume dairy products that have been pasteurized, keep raw meat, cooked meat, and vegetables separate, and thoroughly wash hands after dealing with animals, before eating or preparing foods for others, and after using the restroom.
Salmonella is a bacteria that lives in the intestines of people, animals and birds. It generally causes symptoms of diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain, and sometimes vomiting. For the elderly,
children, and those with compromised immune systems, symptoms can be more serious. Symptoms often begin 12-72 hours after consuming contaminated food. Commonly infected
foods can include raw meat, poultry and seafood, raw eggs, fruits and vegetables.