More than 50 people are now confirmed sick in a Salmonella outbreak in Kentucky where health officials are asking for the public’s patience and assistance to find the cause. KentuckyThe Eagles Roost, a sports bar and restaurant in Irvine, KY, where at least 19 of the 51 confirmed Salmonella patients reported eating before becoming ill, voluntarily closed for cleaning. A subsequent health inspection returned a score of 99, but the restaurant has not re-opened. Health officials have not named the Eagles Roost, but the restaurant’s owner confirmed to local media his establishment was linked to the outbreak. Estill County Health Department officials did not respond to requests for comment Feb. 18. The department’s website did not have information about the outbreak as of yesterday evening. Updates are being posted on the department’s Facebook page. As of Feb. 16th we have the following numbers to report, according to the department’s Facebook page, 75 people experiencing gastrointestinal illnesses; 51 confirmed positive test results for Salmonella; numerous test results pending; and 11 hospitalizations. “We are continuing to receive case reports of individuals with prior signs and symptoms. However, these are not new cases — these are cases confined to a specific time period,” senior regional epidemiologist Judy Collins wrote on the department’s Facebook page Wednesday. logo-Estill-County_KY_Health-Dept “We are all working tirelessly to identify and investigate all possible causes of this outbreak. Just as the old saying goes, ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day,’ a Salmonella outbreak isn’t going to be cured in a day. Epidemiologic (sic) investigations take time due to the large number of variables involved in finding the source of the problem. Solutions must be based on sound scientific fact that comes from proper investigation and lab testing and that takes time.” Collins urged the public to not engage in rumor mongering. “… playing the ‘blame game’ gets us no closer to a solution and only hinders the process, as resources have to be pulled away from where they are needed most in order to address rumors and mis-information. Patience will always prevail in a crisis and that is what is needed in this instance,” Collins said in her Facebook post. Estill County officials are asking that anyone with symptoms of Salmonella infection talk with their doctor and call the health department at 606-723-5181. Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The illness usually lasts four to seven days. Most people recover without treatment. However, in some cases, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. Every year, Salmonella is estimated to cause 1 million foodborne illnesses in the United States, with 19,000 hospitalizations and 380 deaths, according to the CDC.   (To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)