SALMONELLA OUTBREAK PEAKS AT 37; INVESTIGATION CONTINUES
The Weld County Health Department continues to investigate an outbreak of Salmonella illness at multiple locations in the county. In mid-February, 17 people from the Greeley Aims Community College campus became sick from food catered by the Burrito Delight restaurant. An additional 20 patrons became sick after eating food directly from the restaurant. The public is not at risk and the restaurant’s locations in Fort Lupton and Dacono are closed for the duration of the investigation. Four people have been hospitalized and there are no deaths linked with this outbreak. There have been no new cases for the past five days and it appears the outbreak has peaked at 37 confirmed laboratory cases.
“Several employees from the restaurant have tested positive for Salmonella,” said Mark E. Wallace, MD, MPH, Executive Director of the Weld County Health Department. “But it remains unclear if they or a food source is the illness link. It may be a challenge to find the definitive answer.” The Health Department is partnering with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment in examining all possible sources of the illness. Large outbreaks are complex, and it becomes difficult to isolate the index case of exposure, said Wallace.
Salmonella is a bacterium that causes symptoms like diarrhea, upset stomach, fever, and occasionally vomiting. Symptoms typically appear 6-72 hours after eating contaminated food and usually last 4 to 7 days without treatment. In severe cases, the symptoms may last longer but most people recover on their own. Anyone who continues to suffer symptoms of Salmonella should contact their health care provider. For some people, the diarrhea may become so severe they require hospitalization.
The take home public health message is to always wash your hands before preparing food and after using the bathroom.
Additional information about this investigation can be found on the Health Department website at: www.weldhealth.org see Health Hot Topics link. Information about Salmonella can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website: https://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/index.html