The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

October 16, 2013

State confirms cause of salmonella outbreak

Testing by the state has confirmed a bean day fundraiser held earlier this month caused the Athens salmonellosis outbreak.

Officials with the Alabama Department of Public Health’s Epidemiology Division said Wednesday that sample testing indicated the bean entrée from the fundraiser caused the outbreak.

When asked if other portions of the bean day plate samples had revealed salmonellosis, or the salmonella bacterial infection, ADPH Epidemiologist Sherri Davidson said, “Further tests are still pending.”

Plates from the bean day included a white bean entrée flavored with ham, coleslaw, onion, a cornbread flapjack and a choice of yellow cake with icing or a brownie.

Twelve people were admitted to Athens-Limestone Hospital following the Oct. 4 fundraiser, including one patient who was released Oct. 14.

It is unclear how many people purchased bean day plates, or the total number affected by the outbreak. The number of lab-confirmed cases by the hospital is 27, with 50 people being treated by the hospital, according to Micheal Estremera, infection-control and microbiology supervisor at ALH.

The Foundation on Aging, which sponsored the bean day, raises money for local causes, including senior meal programs.

Jackie Jackson, outgoing chair of the foundation and the group’s spokeswoman, said Wednesday that an executive board meeting is being held Thursday morning to review the fundraiser and determine the number of purchased plates.

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