80 cases of food poisoning at ADC

Source of Article: http://www.gulflive.com/news/mississippipress/news.ssf?/base/news/1235042141102980.xml&coll=5


Thursday, February 19, 2009


State Health Department officials were trying to determine Wednesday what gave 80 maximum-security inmates food poisoning beginning last week and resulted in five prisoners being taken to a local hospital this week.

Liz Sharolt, director of communications with the state Health Department, said there were 80 prisoners in the Jackson County Adult Detention Center complaining of gastrointestinal illness, or salmonella sickness, from Feb. 6-14.

"But, the illness has run its course, and there are no new cases to report," she said.


Jackson County Sheriff Mike Byrd said Wednesday five inmates were taken to Singing River Hospital on Monday, where it was confirmed that they had a salmonella-related illness.

The sheriff said four prisoners were treated and released Monday, but one inmate remained hospitalized Wednesday afternoon. The inmate was in good condition Wednesday, Byrd said, and should be released soon.

"They mainly suffered from diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and throwing up," Byrd said. He added that two prisoners experienced a low-grade fever.

Byrd said he believes the bacterial food-borne illness was not caused by peanuts or peanut butter, but possibly by lettuce.

He added that ARAMARK World has been the food service provider for the jail for at least 16 years. The company purchases and prepares all food at the jail.

Byrd said the international company is conducting an independent investigation.

Officials with ARAMARK's home office in Philadelphia, Pa., were unavailable for comment Wednesday.

Sharolt said it could take weeks to determine what caused the bacterial outbreak.

"During the course of our investigation, we'll send numerous food samples for testing. It's not uncommon for it to take several weeks to pinpoint an exact cause."




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