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Officials Probe Salmonella Outbreak

Health Officials in Ga. Investigate Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Restaurant

Associated Press

Sept. 10, 2003

Nearly two dozen people have been sickened by salmonella, and many of the cases appear to be linked to a suburban steak and buffet restaurant, state health officials said Wednesday.

The Golden Corral restaurant in Kennesaw voluntarily closed Wednesday morning for a cleaning and investigation, officials said.

At least 17 of 23 people who fell ill in the past few months of a particular strain of salmonella ate at the restaurant, said epidemiologist Susan Lance-Parker of the Division of Public Health.

"We feel pretty certain there's a connection with the restaurant," Lance-Parker said.

One person who ate at the restaurant died, but whether the infection caused it wasn't clear because the person had other health problems.

Lance-Parker said an inspection last month showed the Golden Corral to be clean and well-run, and employees were ruled out as a source of the infection.

Most of the infected people had symptoms that included diarrhea, fever and stomach pain for about a week. The illness can be more severe in children and the elderly.

Salmonella is the leading cause of foodborne illness, making about 1.3 million people in the country sick each year, said Michael Doyle, director of the University of Georgia Center for Food Safety.

The bacteria are found in raw and undercooked foods and contaminated water.

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