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St. Patrick Irish Picnic Salmonella Outbreak

At least 50 people who attended the St. Patrick Irish Picnic in McEwen, Tennessee became ill with Salmonella infections the last week of July and first week of August 2012. Thousands of people ate food at the picnic, which was held July 27 and 28, 2012.

According to the Tennessee Department of Health, 4 people were hospitalized after experiencing dehydration from loss of fluids. Stool samples confirmed that ill individuals had contracted Salmonella enterica infections.

Public health officials worked to determine the source of the Salmonella outbreak, which could have been a variety of foods--from pulled pork to chicken, hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad, or potentially toppings or side dishes containing lettuce or tomatoes. Even desserts could potentially have been contaminated with Salmonella.

According to the Tennessee Department of Health, food handlers at the event were in full compliance with health codes.

Most victims of the St. Patrick Irish picnic Salmonella outbreak became sick 1-2 days after eating at the picnic and recovered in under a week; however some people bought food and took it home for later consumption, and therefore may still get sick.

Officials have collected a sample of barbecued pork from a man who brought it home from the event and became sick after eating it. A culture from the sample is being grown at a state lab and will be tested for the outbreak strain of Salmonella.

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