Fifty (50) people have reportedly fallen ill after consuming an assortment of food at a church picnic in Tennessee, according to The Christian Post. Although quite a few people have reportedly contracted salmonella after attending the annual St. Patrick Irish picnic, an event which brings in nearly 20,000 people; officials are still a little perplexed as to how, precisely, something like this could happen at their cookout.
However, attempting to figure out the culprit in this particular instance is proving to be difficult, as the majority of people who dined at the picnic are perfectly fine. Researchers claim they may never know why this happened or which food made folks so sick.
Picnic organizer Michael Bradley is understandably horrified by the outbreak. “I’m just heartbroken,” he explained to News Channel 5. “We provide Clorox, disinfectant, and gloves to everyone. We’re working with the health department to help them learn what happened.”
Bradley sincerely hopes this occurrence won’t prevent people from coming back again next year. “People can rest assured-we’ve had 158 years without any problems-that we won’t have any problems (knock on wood) next year,” he said.
Presently, both the church and the school are being tested for salmonella. Officials are also instructing anyone who attended the outing to immediately call a doctor should they start feeling ill. Symptoms of salmonella include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps and can appear between 12 and 72 hours after becoming infected.
There are approximately 40,000 cases of salmonella poisoning in the United States every year, and it is more common in the summer than in the winter. Foods can become contaminated with the dangerous bacteria during food processing or handling. Additionally, items which are handled by individuals with unwashed or unclean hands can become contaminated by salmonella. Undercooked or poorly prepared food — meats, chicken, and eggs in particular — are also known culprits in bacterial outbreaks.