State and local health officials in Virginia continue the Salmonella outbreak investigation linked to the Chincoteague Chili Chowder Cook Off, which was held in late September.

Salmonella bacteria (red)/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Salmonella bacteria (red)/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

The Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services (DCLS) in Richmond, Virginia, first identified Salmonella javiana in human specimens that were submitted by healthcare providers and health officials from event attendees who reported gastro-intestinal illness. Now, DCLS has identified Salmonella javiana in a sample of Crab Shack Clam Chowder that was obtained from an attendee served during the event, consistent with the exposure results of the online attendee survey. Approximately 500 survey responses, from both ill and non-ill attendees, were recorded in 18 days.

As of Tuesday, the Accomack County Health Department has received 180 reports of illness to date. Approximately half (50%) of those reported ill sought medical care, with 20% (36) receiving Emergency Room care and 10% (18) having been hospitalized for one or more nights. No deaths have been reported with this outbreak.

Accomack County health officials are addressing issues that may have contributed to the outbreak by engaging event sponsors and vendors. The laboratory analysis continues, as does analysis of the survey results.

Salmonella symptoms usually begin within six to 72 hours after exposure, although they can begin up to a week after exposure. Symptoms commonly last four to seven days.

Symptoms of Salmonella poisoning include diarrhea, abdominal pain and fever. Most people recover from Salmonella without treatment, but symptoms may be so severe that it is necessary to go to the hospital. Older adults, infants, and those who have impaired immune systems are at highest risk.

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