Alabama health officials confirm Salmonella in foodborne outbreak in Sumter County

The Alabama Department of Public Health continues to investigate a foodbourne outbreak that has affected at least 67 out of 100 or more people who ate a meal on July 6 after a funeral at Eastern Star Baptist Church in York.  

Five people are confirmed to have Salmonella (serotype Heidelberg) by the Alabama Bureau of Clinical Laboratories.  Additional environmental and clinical samples will be tested at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  The preliminary investigative findings suggest the illness was caused by cross contamination during meal preparation.

Several people continue to be hospitalized, some in serious condition. The ongoing investigation has resulted in hospitalizations in at least 10 states and all states have been notified.

Public Health's investigation began after a report from a local hospital that several people had been seeking emergency room care with symptoms of fever, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.  

"If you attended this event and are ill, please contact your physician," advised Dr. Mary McIntyre, Assistant State Health Officer for Disease Control and Prevention.  

Salmonella is commonly found in raw and undercooked meats and eggs.  There are things that can be done to reduce your risk of becoming ill.  These include the following:

• Do not eat or drink foods containing raw eggs, or raw (unpasteurized) milk.
• Do not eat undercooked meat, chicken or eggs.
• Wash hands, work surfaces and items with soap and water immediately after diaper changes or contact with raw meat or chicken.
• Use a bleach 1:10 solution to disinfect surfaces.  
• Do not use the same cutting boards/surfaces for fruits and vegetables as used for raw meats.
• Do not work with raw chicken or meat, and an infant (e.g., feed, change diaper) at the same time.

For information on Salmonella, please see this fact sheet.