The Watauga County office of the Appalachian District Health Department is working with the North Carolina Division of Public Health to investigate a gastrointestinal illness outbreak linked to Proper Restaurant in Boone, NC. As of Friday, the health department had identified nine individuals with signs and symptoms consistent with Salmonellosis: diarrhea, stomach pain, fever, nausea, and occasional vomiting. By Monday, the count was up to 37. Seven of these individuals are confirmed cases. “We are still investigating to determine the source (or sources) of infection. We are also actively working with restaurant management to resolve this as soon as possible,” said Health Director Beth Lovette. “We would like to thank the restaurant for their cooperation. The restaurant has been diligent and responsive during this process, and we appreciate their commitment to the safety of their customers.” The health department is asking anyone who ate at Proper Restaurant on or after Saturday, May 17, and started having diarrhea within three days of eating or drinking there to call the department at (828) 264-6635. Salmonellosis is an infection caused by a bacteria called Salmonella. Salmonella is transmitted by food, water, or surfaces that have been contaminated with the feces of an infected animal or person. Most persons infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea (sometimes bloody), fever, and abdominal cramps six to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts four to seven days, and most persons recover without treatment. However, in some persons, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. In some cases, the person must be treated with antibiotics. Groups at greatest risk for severe or complicated disease include infants, the elderly, and persons with compromised immune systems.