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Restaurant Makes Statement on Salmonella Outbreak

(Columbia) - Almost three weeks after health officials say their undercooked turkey was the cause of a salmonella outbreak in Kershaw County, owners of the Old South restaurant are making a statement.

Authorities say the outbreak sickened 304 people and killed one.

The restaurant will make that talk about the outbreak and investigation around 1 p.m.

DHEC officials say laboratory analyses of turkey samples has identified salmonella enteritidis as the probable cause of the foodborne outbreak in Camden.

Twenty specimens collected from ill patrons also tested positive for salmonella enteritidis, a bacteria that lives in the intestinal tracts of animals and birds and that is transmitted to humans by contaminated foods of animal origin.

To date, there have been 304 confirmed and suspected cases, with 56 hospital admissions for people reportedly exposed between May 19 and May 22.

Additionally, the Kershaw County coroner has attributed one death from the outbreak to sepsis related to Salmonella infection.

DHEC’s investigation of the outbreak in Camden associated with the Old South restaurant identified several factors that may have contributed to the large number of cases. In addition, an inspection of the facility did identify some equipment that was not functioning properly, which may have led to undercooking of products.

"The restaurant has been cooperative with DHEC personnel during the investigation. The owners are in communication with DHEC environmental health personnel and are discussing training opportunities for the kitchen staff," said Sandra Craig, director of DHEC’s Division of Food Protection.

The investigation continues with both DHEC and federal partners looking at additional laboratory testing to determine possible sources of contamination throughout the food production process.

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