The Baltimore City Health Department and the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene have received more than 100 reports of illness after the Food Safety Summit held April 8-10 at the Baltimore Convention Center.
According to an update sent out Tuesday morning to the approximately 1,300 FSS attendees, most of the illnesses reported relate to “self-limited diarrhea.”
A state health official noted that they have heard from about 400 people and that no associated hospitalizations or deaths have been reported.
“We are working on evaluating possible exposures and doing testing at the Maryland state public health laboratory to attempt to identify an agent. At the conclusion of the investigation, a summary report will be available,” Tuesday’s update stated.
Those who attended the FSS and have not yet responded to an online survey are being asked to do so now. More information may be obtained by contacting the Division of Outbreak Investigation at (410) 767-6700 or by email at DHMH.Outbreaks@maryland.gov.
Sara Luell, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, sent out a statement Thursday afternoon noting that initial reports of illness had come in from four attendees at the FSS:
“Although we are in the initial stages of the investigation, there are currently no reported hospitalizations or deaths related to these illnesses. There are also currently no reports of illnesses associated with other conferences at the Baltimore Convention Center. The investigation is ongoing.”
According to Michael Schwartzberg, public information officer for the Baltimore City Health Department, four calls came in on April 15 and 16 from people “complaining of feeling sick with diarrhea, upset stomach and other related symptoms about 12 hours after eating a meal at the Baltimore Convention Center on April 9.”
The city dispatched two environmental health sanitarians to the convention center on April 16, Schwartzberg stated, who did an “extensive investigation” at Centerplate, the center’s in-house caterer.
“With the exception of one issue, everything was in compliance with codes and regulations. Centerplate was issued a violation for condensation dripping from one of the 2 ice machines in the kitchen, and this issue was immediately corrected,” Schwartzberg wrote in an email. He added that no violations were noted at the most recent regularly scheduled inspection there on Feb. 27.
This year’s 16th-annual FSS drew more than 1,500 attendees from across the spectrum of the food industry, including growers, processors, retailers, distributors, food-service operators, regulators and academia.© Food Safety News