According to DecaturDaily.com, a public lunch provided for elderly citizens has been linked to food poisoning cases in the Decatur-Morgan County region of Alabama. Although the investigation is still in its infancy, health investigators have identified approximately 20 victims of food poisoning, including one fatality linked to E. coli. A State Health Department official, commenting on the Morgan County outbreak, indicates that at least two of the victims have suffered E. coli poisoning, including the decedent. The other 16 victims, presenting at three local hospitals, have tested positive for salmonella.
A State epidemiologist, Dr. Mary McIntyre, has indicated that the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) is looking for a common source, but that testing of existing food and stool specimens will be required before investigators can definitively link the food poisoning cases together. According to Dr. McIntyre, investigators have confirmed that several of the victims ate a meal with catered chicken at a church in Morgan County on May 30 – although she did not name the church, given the reports form DecaturDaily, the church is believed to be a local church, Bridge Builders Church.
The health department is requesting anyone who has become ill from gastrointestinal illness since May 30th to report the illness and provide a stool sample to the ADPH.
E. Coli Lawyer Ron Simon: “This probably represents two simultaneous outbreaks…”
Food poisoning lawyer Ron Simon, who has represented thousands of E. coli and salmonella victims, doubts the two outbreaks are directly linked, though he admits it is possible: “It is uncommon for victims of both salmonella and E. coli to be linked to the same outbreak.” Simon quickly added “but in my experience the same negligent food handling and production can cause both pathogens to be introduced into the human food chain.” Simon stated that the most important factor here is to allow the investigators to conduct their investigation fully and completely.