33 people ill from contaminated food at neighborhood party in North Carolina Shigella Outbreak

Food safety issues are the probable cause of a shigella infection that sent 33 people to the hospital after a neighborhood cookout in Charlotte, North Carolina. About 100 people attended the cookout and birthday party at Forest Hills Townhomes on Saturday, June 30. By the next day, almost half of the partygoers were complaining of stomach illnesses with shigella symptoms.

Health officials determined that the source of the infection was most likely a lack of proper hygiene by the person or persons who handled and prepared the food, which was found to be contaminated by feces. Thorough hand washing is essential to preventing food poisoning, especially if the person handling the food has just used the bathroom. Food safety issues can cause severe illness in those consuming the food.

Of the 33 people who were sent to the hospital after the neighborhood cookout, 18 were admitted. Some, including two children, were in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) with serious food poisoning symptoms.

Shigella produces toxins that attack the lining of large intestines, so the majority of symptoms are related to the digestive system. Symptoms include bowel movements that are often large and watery, with subsequent movements containing blood and mucus. Other symptoms of Shigella infection may include:

  • Painful bowel movements
  • High fever
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Loss of appetite

In severe cases, shigellosis may result in seizures, confusion, and dehydration, which can then lead to other complications, such as kidney failure.

Mecklenburg County health officials are warning anyone from the neighborhood cookout who may have taken home leftovers to not consume that contaminated food.

To learn more about food safety, the shigella outbreak, or food-related illnesses and your legal options, please contact the food poisoning lawyers at 1-888-335-4901.