October 5, 2012

State of Alabama
Press Release: Public Health, Alabama Department of

Potential Salmonella outbreak reported in Talladega County school


CONTACT: Chris Caldwell, RN, (800) 338-8374

On Oct 1, the Alabama Department of Public Health, Epidemiology Division and field surveillance staff, began an investigation of a potential foodborne outbreak involving Fayetteville High School staff and students. Thirty-five people have been reported ill and six people have been hospitalized. Sixty people have been interviewed to determine the source of the outbreak. One clinical (human) specimen has tested positive for Salmonella. Several clinical and food specimens have been collected and lab test results are pending.

Salmonella is a bacterium that can cause gastrointestinal (stomach and intestinal) illness. It can be spread from person-to-person, animal-to-person, and food-to-person. In this outbreak, it is believed the organism spread from food-to-person. Confirmation will be determined based upon pending lab test results. Symptoms of Salmonella infection may include headache, diarrhea
(sometimes bloody), stomach cramps, fever, and vomiting. Symptoms usually begin 6-72 hours after exposure. Most people get better within 5-7 days. If you or your family members develop Salmonella symptoms, please contact your healthcare provider.

To prevent or stop the spread, the following are recommended:

  • Cook chicken, beef and eggs thoroughly. Only hard-boiled or scrambled eggs are considered thoroughly cooked.
  • Do not eat or drink anything containing raw eggs or unpasteurized milk.
  • Wash hands with soap and warm running water for 20 seconds, clean work surfaces and other items with soap and water immediately after contact with raw meat or chicken.
  • Wash hands after using the bathroom, changing diapers, handling reptiles, birds, or baby chicks, and after contact with pet feces.

The Epidemiology Division will continue to monitor the outbreak. If you have questions, please call 1-800-338-8374.



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