Testing continues to determine source of salmonella outbreak


Researchers still haven't found the source of the salmonella outbreak after spending five days studying food from the Old South restaurant in Camden.

Microbiologist Beth Johnson says in order to find the food at fault they must first determine if the salmonella in the product is the same as what's found in the victims, "It's complicated, labor intensive."

The search could take some time with thousands of strains of salmonella out there.

Using left over turkey, Johnson has to liquify the food. She then pours it into tubes and places them into an incubator where the salmonella has a chance to grow if it's there, "This black one right there could possible be salmonella."

After four days of being examined in the food lab, samples that could be some form of salmonella are sent to bacteriology for confirmation. It's off to yet another lab if it's a positive.

The DHEC Molecular Department processes the positive cultures from humans and the food to see if they are related. It could take several days before all tests are done.

DHEC spokesman Thom Berry says if a match is found, the information is handed over to medical investigators, "The people out talking to people sick, hospital workers, staff. Who they are, when they ate it."

It'll be at least next week before all the talking and testing is done and the cause of the outbreak clear.