Salmonella outbreak: 2 Minnesota victims ID'd; both died in Brainerd

Source of Article:  http://www.startribune.com/local/37644484.html?elr=KArksLckD8EQDUoaEyqyP4O:DW3ckUiD3aPc:_Yyc:aUUr

Last update: January 15, 2009 - 12:21 PMFeatured comment

A Minneapolis law firm today identified one of the two elderly Minnesotans whose deaths are being linked to a nationwide salmonella outbreak and said legal action will be taken.

The two victims were both in nursing homes in Brainerd that are operated by the Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society of Sioux Falls, a social service agency.

Shirley Mae Almer, 72, of Perham, who died on Dec. 21, was in a long-term care facility and "consumed peanut butter that state health officials have since confirmed was contaminated by the same strain of salmonella bacteria that has sickened at least 425 people in 43 states since mid-September," said a news release from Pritzker Law.

Attorney Fred Pritzker said "the family is deeply disturbed about the food poisoning." Pritzker added that a lawsuit "will be commenced on behalf of Mrs. Almer's heirs in the very near future" and will target the distributor of the product and its manufacturer.

The investigation is focused on peanut butter distributed to food suppliers in seven states by the Ohio-based King Nut company, and, nationally, by the Peanut Corp. of America in Lynchburg, Va., which manufactures and distributes institutional brands. Representatives for the two companies didn't immediately comment about the looming legal action.

Almer became ill while in the Good Samaritan Society, Bethany, nursing home, Pritzker said.

The second victim was an elderly man with underlying health conditions, making it difficult to say whether salmonella poisoning was directly responsible, state health officials said Wednesday.

The Duluth News Tribune today identified the man as Clifford Tousignant, 78, who lived in Duluth and fell ill at the Good Samaritan Society, Woodland, nursing home, where he had been living since November.

Fox TV in Duluth quoted Tousignant's son, Marshall, as saying, "The nursing home told me that after he got back from the hospital. I talked to the nursing home, and I said, 'So what's going on?' They said it's this bulk peanut butter that we buy, and it's in that." The two victims were among 12 nursing home residents who became ill in the outbreak that in Minnesota is linked to King Nut Peanut Butter, sold to institutions.

Health officials also raised the overall number of salmonella cases detected in the state to 33, up from 30. Twelve of those cases were residents of long-term care facilities, including the two people who died. Thirteen of the victims were hospitalized.

Federal health officials have also confirmed that two Virginia deaths are linked to the national outbreak that has sickened more than 400 people.

Fox TV in Duluth quoted Tousignant's son, Marshall, as saying, "The nursing home told me that after he got back from the hospital. I talked to the nursing home, and I said, 'So what's going on?' They said it's this bulk peanut butter that we buy, and it's in that." The two victims were among 12 nursing home residents who became ill in the outbreak that in Minnesota is linked to King Nut Peanut Butter, sold to institutions.

Health officials also raised the overall number of salmonella cases detected in the state to 33, up from 30. Twelve of those cases were residents of long-term care facilities, including the two people who died. Thirteen of the victims were hospitalized.

Federal health officials have also confirmed that two Virginia deaths are linked to the national outbreak that has sickened more than 400 people.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

 

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