On December 17, 2003, Routt County Environmental Health (RCEH) was notified that eight people had become ill after eating a breakfast together the day before at Seasons on the Pond restaurant in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. With increasing reports of illness, on December 20, 2002 RCEH notified the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) that an outbreak of gastroenteritis was occurring in Routt County.
CDPHE coordinated a case-control study, defining a case as a person with diarrhea who had eaten at Seasons on the Pond restaurant between December 13 and December 24, 2002. Controls were non-ill dining companions of sick restaurant patrons. A total of 51 cases were identified; three cases were hospitalized and twenty-six people were laboratory-confirmed with Salmonella Newport.
The results of the case-control study indicated that cases were more likely to have consumed fruit salad than controls. No other food item was statistically associated with illness. The possibility that the fruit had been contaminated before it arrived at the restaurant was investigated, and ultimately ruled out.
Thirty-one restaurant employees submitted stool specimens; nine employees tested positive for Salmonella Newport, and five other employees reported having experienced symptoms of Salmonella infection. Outbreak investigators concluded that an ill food worker employed by Seasons on the Pond restaurant was the most likely source of the outbreak.
Marler Clark represented a woman who became severely ill and was hospitalized with a Salmonella infection after eating at Seasons on the Pond. Her claim was resolved in early 2004.