HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (9/23/13) – There have been no new culture-confirmed cases of salmonella after an outbreak in Hopkins County last week.
Denise Beach, director of the Hopkins County Health Department, said Monday that no new cases came in over the weekend. All cases of salmonella are required to be reported to the local health department.
Beach said that it will be weeks before a common link can be associated with the salmonella cases. Those cultures are being sub-typed as part of the investigation, she said.
Last week, seven cases of salmonella were confirmed by the Hopkins County Health Department. Four of the seven victims were hospitalized including the victim that died.
Salmonellosis is a type of food poisoning caused by the salmonella bacterium. There are several different kinds of theses bacteria including salmonella serotype typhimurium and salmonella serotype enteridis.
In the U.S., there are approximately 40,000 cases reported. Many milder cases are not diagnosed or reported. It's more common in the summer than in the winter.
Common ways of contracting the illness are contaminated food from improper food handling, food touched by someone who is infected and hasn't properly washed their hands and from the feces of pets especially those with diarrhea.
Beach said the ongoing investigation is an attempt to learn how the illness was being spread.
Contaminated foods usually look and smell normal. Beef and vegetables can contain salmonella but most often milk, eggs and poultry are the culprits.
Beach cautioned about safely handing raw meats especially chicken and eggs.
"Eggs should never be eaten raw," she said. "Also, utensils used on raw meats should be separated from those used on cooked meats. And, surfaces where raw meat has been handled should be thoroughly cleaned."
Babies, the elderly and anyone with an autoimmune issue would be at higher risk of serious complications from salmonella.
Beach said the illness usually runs its course in four to seven days, however, severe diarrhea can cause dehydration and intravenous antibiotics may be needed. Anyone with severe diarrhea should consult their medical professional, she said.
Rita Dukes Smith
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