WILTON -- As many as
35 students from Florence Rideout Elementary School have become ill with
possible salmonella poisoning and at least one has been hospitalized
after a trip to an environmental education camp last week.
Camp in Madison has voluntarily closed at the request of the N.H.
Department of Health and Human Services while they investigate how the
salmonella is being spread, according to a statement released Friday by
the Director of Public Health at the DHHS, Dr. Jose Montero.
"It has been
very difficult in this case to trace the exact source of the salmonella
bacteria," Montero said in the statement. "It is not possible
at this time to explain how the children became infected. It could be a
food preparation issue or a contaminated item or a previously existing
illness in one of the food handlers."
Sixth grade students
left for their annual trip to the weeklong environmental camp Monday.
Some students became sick at camp and left early, but some didn't exhibit
symptoms until after they returned home. The DHHS hasn't yet confirmed
that the latest reported illnesses are caused by salmonella but has
confirmed that salmonella infected several children from a Salem middle
school who were at the camp a week before.
interviews we've had several Wilton students tell us they've had positive
salmonella test results but at this point we can't confirm it, because we
haven't received any of those positive lab results," said Beth
Daley, an epidemiologist with DHHS. "We've heard 19 of the 50 kids
became ill at camp, however people can become ill a few days after
they're exposed as well. That's why we waited to interview them
(Monday)," Daley said.
The DHHS does not
know how many students have become ill so far, because it has been
difficult to interview every student who went on the trip since the
Wilton school is on spring break this week, Daley said.
Wilton parent Meili
Kronenfeld has compiled a list of about 35 students she believes became
ill from salmonella poisoning either during or immediately after the
trip. The DHHS confirmed that at least one student had been hospitalized
with salmonella-like symptoms, which include vomiting, diarrhea and fever.
Karen Fredette said
her 12-year-old daughter Bethany became sick Friday night after she got
back from camp.
"We went to the
doctor Sunday and they're testing her for salmonella. She can't keep any
solid foods down," Fredette said.
The department has
been investigating the camp since April 14, when as many as 98 students
and staff from Woodbury Middle School in Salem, N.H., reported becoming
sick with salmonella poisoning. The Bureau of Food Protection inspected
the facility April 20. The department didn't close the facility until
students at the camp last week from Wilton and Dedham, Mass., reported
illnesses, according to the statement.
investigated the first group, and now we're in the process of conducting
interviews with the kids from Wilton who became ill as well," Daley
investigators will look for common food eaten by people who got ill and
compare their diet to those who did not get sick. Investigators could
have a better idea of the source of the contamination by the end of the
week, Daley said.
"We also have a
number of food specimens in our lab here for testing," she said.
Wilton School Board
chairman Joyce Fisk said she was not aware of the salmonella poisoning
reported by Salem students the week before Wilton students left for camp,
and as of yesterday afternoon had heard some students were sick with the
flu, not salmonella.
Camp did not return phone messages left by the Ledger-Transcript.