At least 50 ill from salmonella contamination in State College
A going-away picnic held for a long-time teacher at Grace Prep High School in State College, Pennsylvania, has caused illnesses in at least 50 attendees. The picnic involving approximately 100-150 people, including students at the school, was held on Friday, July 6. By Saturday, July 7, many of those who had eaten at the picnic were complaining of severe gastrointestinal issues.
Mount Nittany Medical Center has confirmed that its doctors have seen 50 patients associated with a common activity since Saturday who presented with gastrointestinal-type symptoms. The illnesses have been confirmed to be salmonella contamination, apparently directly related to the food consumed at the picnic.
Health department officials are continuing to investigate and do not yet know the exact source of the contamination. The Pennsylvania Department of Health is testing samples of food served at the picnic. Salmonella contamination can result from poor food safety protocol, such as not cooking meat thoroughly or not washing hands properly.
It takes only 15-20 bacteria to cause a human being to develop a case of salmonellosis. It may not seem like very much, but the bacteria multiplies at an alarming rate, resulting in a sudden burst of symptoms that include, but are not limited to:
- Gastroenteritis – this inflames your intestines or stomach, disrupting regular bowel movements and digestion. Gastroenteritis manifests itself through diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea. These symptoms appear in as little as six hours after infection and last up to twelve days.
- Bacteremia – instead of attacking your intestines, the bacteria circulates within your bloodstream, leading to infections in areas of the body other than the initial site of contamination.
- Typhoid fever – though rare in the United States, typhoid fever still accounts for an estimated 8 percent of all salmonella outbreaks. Pain, fever, abdominal tenderness, bloody stools, and severe diarrhea are primary symptoms of typhoid fever.
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