A joint Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Jamaican Ministry of Health (JMH) investigation, published in June 2005, confirmed the Salmonella outbreak. The investigation began because nineteen Wisconsin residents had been found in February 2005 as either culture-confirmed or suspected Salmonella Enteritidis cases with a common exposure being recent travel to Jamaica. In fact, the known number of ill totaled 70 cases in the United States, with ill residents coming from twelve States.
In Jamaica, “Resort A” had two clusters of illnesses during January and February that included both ill employees and guests. “Resort B” had a cluster of twelve cases in mid-February with a number of positive Salmonella Enteritidis stool cultures. Another resort, “Resort C” had several sporadic cases with no defined clusters.
The extensive investigation yielded two products as the likely source of the various infections from the “beachside grill” – cheeseburgers (more specifically, the cheese) and eggs (more specifically, pooled eggs). As the CDC and JMH found: “We discovered that this block of cheese, covered in loose saran wrapping, was frequently stored in the same kitchen refrigerator where the container of pooled eggs was kept.”
The environmental testing at “Resorts A, B” showed that “pooling” eggs was a common, but unsafe practice. In fact, “the executive chef was instructed to discontinue this practice….” According to the report, “[o]nce resort chefs stopped the practice of pooling eggs, the rates of guests presenting to nursing stations for diarrheal disease was reduced.”
Marler Clark represented two people who were sickened in the outbreak at Beaches Sandy Bay, including one man who developed permanent, debilitating reactive arthritis after his acute illness. Both cases have been resolved.