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Salmonella- Newton County Update

As of 5/25/18 – 4:30 PM

The Newton County Health Department has concluded their investigation of an outbreak of Salmonella associated with several private events and restaurant meals provided by Plain Nuts Catering & Deli. A full investigation including interviewing ill individuals, analysis of survey results completed by ill and well event attendees, and investigation in the catering facility was conducted. Survey response analysis from one event statistically implicated chicken as the source of illness; however the source of the Salmonella could not be identified. In addition, samples of chicken and meal items containing chicken tested negative for Salmonella. It is often difficult to pinpoint specific foods as the cause of an outbreak. Between 1998 and 2016, there were 17,990 outbreaks in the United States associated with food and water where the source of disease transmission was never found. (CDC’s National Outbreak Reporting System Dashboard, “Unknown Food”) The last exposure date reported among ill individuals was May 11th. There is no indication of an ongoing threat of Salmonella infections related to this outbreak.

Plain Nuts Catering & Deli has cooperated fully with this investigation. On May 15th, out of an abundance of caution, the facility closed to allow time for a focused on-site training as well as screening of all full-time and part-time food service staff. In addition, the facility has followed the Health Department’s recommendations of conducting a full enhanced cleaning of the facility prior to re-opening. Environmental Health staff will be meeting with the facility before re-opening to ensure all areas of the kitchen have been cleaned and disinfected in accordance with the Georgia Food Code and with the Environmental Health Department’s guidance.

The Health Department investigates all reports of illness on an ongoing basis and encourages individuals to report illness to allow for prompt investigation. Illnesses can be reported by calling our Foodborne Illness Hotline at 770-339-4BUG. The focus of these investigations is to ensure that ill individual are educated and mitigation efforts can be put in place to limit the spread of illness. If you have questions regarding your health, please contact your physician. If you have general questions about Salmonella or foodborne illness, please contact our office at 770-339-4260 and ask to speak with the Epidemiologist on call.


As of 5/18/18 – 5:35 PM

The Newton County Health Department is continuing to investigate an outbreak of Salmonella. The initial outbreak was reported to our office on May 4th due to illness among attendees at a closed, invitation only event held in Newton County on April 28th. During the process of investigating this event, the caterer that provided food for this event, Plain Nuts Catering & Deli, was investigated per protocol. All food and drink items along with other exposure possibilities were fully investigated. A survey was developed and sent out to event attendees to gather information on exposures and subsequent illness.

During the process of investigating this outbreak, additional cases of gastrointestinal illness including one confirmed case of Salmonella, was reported among individuals in who did not attend the event but had consumed food prepared by the same caterer.

월 15에th, illnesses, including a confirmed case of Salmonella, among individuals attending a separate function held on May 9th in Social Circle, GA were also reported. A survey was developed and distributed to again collect exposure and illness information. Investigation of these reported illnesses also identified food prepared by the same caterer as a potential source of exposure. Exposure and illness information from this second cluster of illness is still under investigation; however, out of the abundance of caution, the catering facility has closed until a full investigation can be conducted. The last exposure date reported among ill individuals was May 9th. There is no indication of an ongoing threat of Salmonella infections related to this outbreak.

Plain Nuts Catering & Deli has been fully cooperative with all Health Department requests and has provided all requested information. Additional on-site training has been provided to all staff and additional screening of food service staff is underway. In addition, the facility has followed the Health Department recommendations of conducting a full enhanced cleaning of the facility prior to re-opening.

Salmonella is a bacteria that commonly causes foodborne illness. “CDC  estimates Salmonella causes about 1.2 million illnesses, 23,000 hospitalizations, and 450 deaths in the United States every year. Food is the source for about 1 million of these illnesses.” Additional information about Salmonella and foodborne illness, specifically relating to food safety, can be found at: https://www.cdc.gov/features/salmonella-food/.

The Health Department investigates all reports of illness on an ongoing basis and encourages individuals to report illness to allow for prompt investigation. Illnesses can be reported by calling our Foodborne Illness Hotline at 770-339-4BUG. In addition, confirmed Salmonella infections are reportable to Public Health in GA. If you have questions regarding your health, please contact your physician. If you have general questions about Salmonella, please contact our office at 770-339-4260 and ask to speak with the Epidemiologist on call.


As of 5/18/18 – 10:54 AM

The Newton County Health Department is investigating an outbreak of Salmonella.  Illness onsets have ranged from late April to mid May.  The outbreak was reported to our office on May 4th. Salmonella is a bacterial illness that can cause diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever.  Illness may be severe, however most individuals recover without treatment.  In addition, asymptomatic illness may occur.  Illness generally begins 12 to 72 hours after infection and can last for 4 to 7 days.  CDC reports that Salmonella causes approximately 1.2 million illnesses per year.

Salmonella is a reportable disease in GA and as such, all cases are investigated to determine if there are commonalities among cases.  Our focus in investigating these cases is to provide education to limit the spread of disease and mitigate any potential sources of infection.

At this time, the investigation is ongoing and we do not have a definitive source of infection for all of the cases.  Most of the cases associated with this outbreak are linked to an isolated event that occurred in Newton County on April 28th, 2018.  This outbreak does not appear to be linked to the nationwide Salmonella outbreaks that have recently been in the media.  Initial testing of the individuals involved in this outbreak have identified 살모넬라 균 Enteritidis as the bacteria that is making individuals ill.  Because the testing process can be lengthy, we are still waiting for final results on many individuals who have been tested.

The spread of Salmonella can be limited through following food safety and infection control guidance.  CDC and FightBac, a partnership between CDC, FDA and USDA, have a wealth of education and prevention messaging that can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/general/prevention.htmlhttp://www.fightbac.org/.    Steps including hand washing, cooking foods thoroughly, washing fruits and vegetables, and ensuring steps are in place to stop cross contamination in the kitchen are great tools in preventing foodborne illness.  Ill individuals can spread Salmonella to others, so measures including hand washing, staying home when you are ill, and not preparing food for others while ill can limit the spread of infection.

The Health Department investigates all reports of illness on an ongoing bases and encourages individuals to report illness to allow for prompt investigation.  Illnesses can be reported by calling our Foodborne Illness Hotline at 770-339-4BUG.  If you have questions regarding your health, please contact your physician.  If you have general questions about Salmonella, please contact our office at 770-339-4260 and ask to speak with the Epidemiologist on call.

 

 


As of 5/17/18 – 4:00 PM

Has there been a salmonella outbreak in Covington/Newton County?

Yes.  We are currently investigating a confirmed Salmonella outbreak in Newton County.

 

When did it begin?

The outbreak was reported to our office on May 4th.  The investigation is ongoing.

 

Where did it originate/what is the cause?

We are still investigating the outbreak including identifying the source and commonalities among those that are ill.

 

How many people have been affected? 

Approximately 70 individuals have reported illness to the Health Department.

 

Have there been any serious cases/hospitalizations?

Many individuals have sought care with their primary physicians and/or urgent care.  At this point we are aware of four individuals who were hospitalized due to their illness.

 

The Health Department investigates reports of illness on an ongoing basis and encourages individuals to report illness to allow for prompt investigation.  Illnesses can be reports by calling our Foodborne Illness Hotline at 770-339-4BUG. When investigating outbreaks of illness, the Health Department regularly communicates with clinical partners in the affected area to provide guidance and information.


The investigation is still ongoing.  Updates will be provided on this page when available.