ADC food poisoning investigation ongoing

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Thursday, February 26, 2009


State health officials said they have not yet determined the cause of a salmonella outbreak earlier this month at the Jackson County Adult Detention Center, but that the illness has been contained.

State Health Department spokeswoman Liz Sharlot said Wednesday that the investigation into the cause may take up to four weeks to complete.

Aramark spokeswoman Sarah Jarvis said the food service company is working with state health officials in the investigation. Aramark has been the food service provider for the jail for at least 16 years, and the company purchases and prepares all food at the jail, according to the county.

"There were 80 inmates who complained of flu-like symptoms, but there were only four that the hospital determined had salmonella," Jarvis said.

She noted the illness could have come from something other than a food item, such as improper hand washing or improper storage of food.

"We are looking at everything," she said.

Sharlot confirmed 80 inmates complained of symptoms between Feb. 6 and 14 but couldn't say how many of those had salmonella.

"I don't have any final numbers because there were no samples to test for many of them," Sharlot said. "Their illness had ran its course, and the disease has to be active at the time. We took as many samples as we could."

Jackson County Sheriff Mike Byrd said last week that five inmates were treated and released from Singing River Hospital.

"They mainly suffered from diarrhea, abdominal cramps and throwing up," he said.

Sharlot said there have been no new cases reported and there is no current threat.




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