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One Dead, 38 Ill from Salmonella Linked to Pastry

One man has died and there are now 38 other cases of suspected Salmonella infections in the Rhode Island outbreak linked to Italian pastries from a Johnston bakery.

The Rhode Island Health Department said Tuesday that the man who died March 23 was a Providence County resident in his 80s.  He had tested positive for the outbreak strain of Salmonella.

Twenty-four of those sickened have been hospitalized, so far 21 are lab-confirmed Salmonella cases. Most are Rhode Island residents; one lives in Massachusetts.

Health officials have said all of those affected appeared to have eaten zeppole made by DeFusco’s Bakery in Johnston, RI.  The pastries were also sold to other bakeries and caterers,and served at several locations, including catered events at senior centers and a church. For a list, go to the health department website.

Zeppole are traditionally eaten to celebrate St. Joseph’s Day, March 19.  

Last Friday, the Health Department announced a recall of all baked goods distributed by DeFusco’s Bakery between March 12 and 28.  Following an inspection of the Johnston bakery production site, health officials said they found pastry cream being kept at room temperature and pastry shells stored in used egg crates, which could have exposed them to contaminated raw egg residue.

Questions about the outbreak can be addressed to health department staff members at 401-222-8022 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET.

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