In a follow-up to the initial report on the Lancaster, OH botulism outbreak that is linked to a church potluck last weekend, health officials put the total tally at around 30 as of Friday.

Ohio botulism/Twitter
Ohio botulism/Twitter

One local media account says the Ohio Department of Health reported 20 confirmed botulism cases and nine still suspected Friday afternoon. The outbreak is linked to a potluck dinner at the Cross Pointe Free Will Baptist Church. In addition, their has been one fatality. The individual has identified as 55-year-old Rushville resident Kennetha “Kim” Shaw.

The Associated Press reports that Ohio health officials said that six food samples retrieved from a garbage bag at the church have tested positive for botulism.

Four of the samples were potato salad, along with a sample of macaroni and cheese and a spaghetti pasta salad. Since they were all in the garbage together, more testing is required to determine which of the foods was initially contaminated.

In an interview with local media, Cross Pointe Free Will Baptist Church Pastor Bill Pitts discusses the chain of events and describes the outbreak as a “defining moment” for him as a Pastor.

The church has set up a family relief fund on their website: Because of the outpouring of requests, there has been an account through Fairfield National Bank called Cross Pointe Family Relief Fund. You may go to any Fairfield National Bank location and make a donation to Cross Pointe Family Relief Fund. Fairfield National Bank is part of the Park National Bank family group, so you may donate at any Park National family of banks across Ohio.

Or simply send your donation to: Cross Pointe Family Relief Fund, 657 E. Main Street, Lancaster, Ohio 43130

Botulinum toxin, also called “miracle poison,” is one of the most poisonous biological substances known. It is a neurotoxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, an anaerobic, gram-positive, spore-forming rod commonly found on plants, in soil, water and the intestinal tracts of animals.