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Hotel Workers Spread Bacterial Infection

Posted on in Food Poisoning

State and county health officials recently linked a 2013 Salmonella outbreak in North Carolina to a hotel restaurant in Fayetteville. One of the most serious food poisoning events in The Tar Heel State's history sickened an estimated 100 people.

Inspectors were unable to identify a single cause, but they recorded numerous violations, including temperature violations, bare-handed contact with ready-to-eat food, improper water temperatures, a defective dishwasher, and absence of hand-washing supplies. Investigators theorized that cross-contamination probably triggered the outbreak. The first 29 cases came from the restaurant staff, and an overly-strict leave policy may have made the outbreak worse. Investigators confirmed that seven people worked while they were sick.

The outbreak lasted from May 1 to May 17, 2013. Although most of the victims were from North Carolina, residents of South Carolina, Alabama, Illinois, Colorado, Maryland, New Jersey, and New York were also affected.

Salmonella Poisoning

Salmonella Enterocolitis, which is an infection in the lining of the small intestine, is one of the most common bacterial infections that comes from improperly-cooked food. It nearly always comes from unwashed hands, and the bacteria then becomes embedded in the food. Although most people associate Salmonella with meat, fish, and poultry, vegetables may also be contaminated.

Children and the elderly are the most vulnerable groups. Victims usually become symptomatic within 12 to 72 hours after exposure. These symptoms include severe diarrhea and dehydration. These things occur quickly and without warning, so many victims need to be hospitalized in order to recover. Delay in treatment makes these symptoms even worse. The symptoms themselves may diminish after a few days, but it takes months for most people's bowel and bladder functions to return to normal.

In some people, the infection spreads from the small intestine to the urinary tract and causes Reiter's Syndrome, which is one of the most severe forms of reactive arthritis. Symptoms include:

  • Inflammation in the feet, toes, fingers, and other joints,
  • Penile or cervical discharge,
  • Heart problems,
  • Inflammation of the eye, and
  • Severe pus-filled sores and skin rashes.

Although there is no known cure, Reiter's is treatable with medication and some herbal combinations.

If you were injured by a severe case of food poisoning, contact an experienced Waukegan personal injury attorney for a free phone consultation. Home and hospital visits are available.

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