At least 62 people were likely sickened with Salmonella after dining at one of two restaurants sharing a kitchen in Muskegon County, MI, according to the final report of the outbreak released Monday. The outbreak occurred between Oct. 30 and Nov. 2, 2013, after patients dined at either Pints & Quarts or C.F. Prime Muskegon, two restaurants that share the same kitchen but have separate menus. County health investigators confirmed 31 cases of Salmonella with laboratory testing and found another 31 probable cases among restaurant patrons who fell ill within 72 hours with symptoms of Salmonella poisoning, such as diarrhea, nausea or abdominal cramps. Among the 62 ill, eight were restaurant employees. After weeks of investigations and restaurant inspections, county health officials were not able to determine the exact source of contamination in the restaurants, though investigators floated sick employees, cross-contamination from raw meat, and lettuce as possible sources, among others. The county health department was notified of the first illness on Nov. 7 with a patient who ate at Pints & Quarts on Oct. 31. The next day, another six Salmonella illnesses were diagnosed in the county, which typically sees 12-13 cases of Salmonella a year. That’s when health officials found an immediate connection: All seven cases had dined at the establishments within a four-day period. They knew they had a potentially large outbreak on their hands. Beginning Nov. 8, health investigators conducted six investigations at the restaurants. The owner/manager also informed investigators that day that one employee was sick. Further interviews with 35 employees revealed that several had fallen ill with symptoms of salmonellosis sometime after Nov. 2. Although no single source or act was specifically identified to cause the contamination, investigators noted several practices that could have caused it. Most notably was an area of the kitchen where ingredients for salads, dressing and other condiments were kept to prepare salads and chicken dishes. It’s more likely that various menu items were contaminated at this station, which was the only area where all the foods most associated with the outbreak were located. Investigators also found that several kitchen staffers were unaware of some safety procedures, which were found to be “seldom used,” the report stated. When it was clear the outbreak had stopped naturally after Nov. 2, the investigators changed focus to finding the likely sources and worked closely with the restaurants’ ownership. “This was not an investigation to assign blame, responsibility, or liability,” the report read. “It was an effort by [the health department] to identify, as quickly as possible, in a scientific manner, with very limited resources, the reason for an outbreak of Salmonella infections.” “This was imperative in order to determine if the outbreak was going to continue so that interventions could be made to stop the transmission of the infection and to prevent further infections from the pathogen in the future.”