WATCH: Health officials see salmonella outbreak in Caldwell County

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07:10 AM CDT on Tuesday, July 7, 2009


In just one month the Lockhart area has seen three times as many salmonellosis cases as they usually see in a year.


July 6th, 2009

KVUE's Noelle Newton reports

Lockhart -- the proclaimed the barbecue capital of Texas -- is now home to a salmonella outbreak and maybe a few more empty tables.

"We cut back on some of that stuff for a couple of weeks until it clears out a little bit, said Christie Gartman, resident.

Last month, 27 people tested positive for salmonellosis in Caldwell County. The bacteria come from animal feces and can be found in beef and poultry. State health officials say the majority of those who got sick live in Lockhart, others in the nearby town of Dale. The last case reported was on the 25th of June.

Health officials have questioned all affected, but have not been able to determine the source. They say for now, don't panic and continue to eat at your favorite places. But if what you eat makes you sick, get to a doctor. The more people tested, the better chance there is of finding a common link and addressing it.

"After you're exposed you're typically going to get ill between three to 72 hours. The symptom is typically diarrhea and one of the risks of diarrhea is dehydration. Some of the people were hospitalized at least briefly primarily to be rehydrated, Department of State Health Spokesperson Doug McBride said.

Local doctors are sounding the alarm. That's how Christie Gartman found out.

"We took my daughter to the doctor and there are signs posted everywhere to be more cautious about how you eat, make sure you wash your hands, Gartman said.

McBride thinks the outbreak may be slowing down, which would be a relief to a city with such an important title.

State health officials say some of the people who got sick did eat at restaurants. If they do discover source, they will alert the public and eradicate the problem. They urge people not to jump to conclusions.

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