A private event held in Colbert County Saturday, November 12, resulted in at least 77 persons becoming ill with presumptive Salmonella gastroenteritis. Twelve persons were hospitalized at local hospitals due to the illness. All patients are recovering. Signs and symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain and some fever. The incubation period can range from 6 to 72 hours.
The Colbert County Health Department has been investigating this foodborne outbreak since first receiving reports on Monday morning following standard outbreak procedures including interviewing patients, obtaining patient specimens, inspecting the food source, and obtaining food samples. Food and patient specimens have been processed by the Alabama Department of Public Health’s laboratory. The laboratory has reported that initial patient specimens tested presumptive positive for Salmonella. Food results are pending as it takes longer to process food specimens. The caterer is cooperating with the health department and is no longer preparing food.
Dr. Karen Landers, Assistant State Health Officer, states that the health department will continue to follow up with patients and local health care facilities to ensure that affected patients are interviewed.
“The health department’s priorities are the health of the patients, a thorough investigation, and preventing any additional illness,” Dr. Landers said. “This was a private event with exposure to the food over a specific time period. Therefore, there is no threat to the general public.”