State officials say a Salmonella outbreak in Estill County Kentucky that has sickened at least 72 is winding down as the root cause continues to evade investigators as it has for the past month. root-cause-magnifying-glassA dozen of the victims have required hospitalization. Most of the sick people are from Madison and Estill counties and a number of them reported eating at the Eagles Roost sports Bar in Irvine, KY, before developing symptoms, according to Estill County health officials. Estill County Health Department was the lead agency for the investigation, a state spokesman said last month. The Estill County department does not have any information about the outbreak on its website and its most recent Facebook post about the Salmonella outbreak was Feb. 17. On Monday, state officials stepped up to fill in some of the blanks. Beth Fisher, a spokesperson for the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, told the Richmond Register newspaper it was “a big outbreak” and such investigations are difficult and complicated. Fisher praised the local health authorities. “The local health department was wonderful,” the newspaper reported Fisher said. “They shared their findings with everyone and they have worked really hard to let people know what was going on.” Ultimately state officials determined that the Eagles Roost was the source of the outbreak. “Due to the surveys and interviews with individuals and comparing the foods they were eating at the time of the illness, we were able to determine that a specific restaurant was tied to the outbreak but we still haven’t determined a specific source. Food borne illness investigations are very complicated. It is very difficult to trace back where it began,” the newspaper reported Fisher said. The restaurant owner voluntarily closed the Eagles Roost for cleaning and testing by health officials. During a recent inspection the establishment scored 98 out of 100, despite having six violations that included failure to maintain an adequate temperature for the dish washing machine and allowing frozen poultry items to thaw at room temperature. (To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)