The Kentucky Department for Public Health will likely announce a statewide outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium later today or Friday, an epidemiologist at the Ashland Boyd County Health Department has told Food Safety News.
Public health investigators have not determined the source of the outbreak, but at least nine people in Carter County have fallen ill, said the epidemiologist, Christy Bolen.
A WSAZ News report stated that 44 cases have surfaced across the state, though spokespeople for the state health department have not yet returned calls from Food Safety News to confirm that number.
Bolen said that health officials are investigating at least two distinct genetic patterns of Salmonella, also known as pulsed field gel electrophoresis patterns.
“July is usually our peak month for Salmonella infections, but we noticed this July that the state was having even more cases than expected,” Bolen said. “Then we started seeing that these cases were matching these two different patterns.”
The cases in Carter County were all reported between July 24 and July 31, though Bolen said illnesses in other counties have been reported in August and more may be incoming.
“They’ve all had close onset dates and they’re near the same area,” Bolen said. “They all ate something contaminated — it’s just not clear what it was yet.”
The nine patients in Carter County range in age from 2 years old to 75. Bolen added that the statewide patient demographic appears to be evenly split between male and female.
Food Safety News will update this story as it develops.© Food Safety News