The Alabama Department of Health confirmed Friday that Salmonella was indeed the cause of the illnesses, and identified the strain as Salmonella Heidelberg. Specimens isolated from five patients who attended the funeral have tested positive for S. Heidelberg.
The outbreak was detected after a local hospital reported a spike in patients reporting fever, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. Funeral attendees who fell ill are now known to have been hospitalized in 10 states.
“Several people continue to be hospitalized, some in serious condition,” reported ADPH in a press release Friday.
According to the Department, at least 100 people attended the funeral, which was held at Eastern Star Baptist Church in York, AL July 6.
While the investigation into the source of the bacteria is ongoing, preliminary findings show that it was introduced via cross-contamination during meal preparation.
“If you attended this event and are ill, please contact your physician,” advised Dr. Mary McIntyre, Assistant State Health Officer for Disease Control and Prevention.© Food Safety News