Salmonella cases reported in county


Thursday, August 14, 2008

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Fifty cases of salmonella have been reported in Williamson County so far this year, with two in Taylor and six in Hutto, according to the Williamson County and Cities Health District (WCCHD).

Of the 50 cases, 11 were of the salmonella saintpaul strain, which is believed to be responsible for the widely reported nationwide outbreak that began in May, though none of those were reported in Taylor.

Epidemiologist David Bastis said the national outbreak is only partially responsible for the high number of reported cases of salmonella this year.

?That?s definitely part of it, but that doesn?t stop us from looking for other outbreaks from another type of salmonella,? he said. ?Another explanation could be that there?s another outbreak going on.?

Bastis said another cause of the high number of cases this year is heightened awareness of the disease. In the absence of an outbreak, people may not be as likely to visit a doctor.

?During an outbreak, there?s a tendency to get more [cases] reported when there?s publicity going on,? he said. ?Everyone has an increased awareness.?

Bastis said doctors are also influenced by the heightened publicity the disease receives during an outbreak and may be more likely to test for salmonella.

Among all Williamson County cities, Round Rock has had the highest number of reported cases with 12 -- half of them of the saintpaul strain.

According to Bastis, none of the reported cases of salmonella this year were fatal.

Bastis said the number of reported salmonella cases is declining, though the outbreak has still not been eliminated.

?I wouldn?t say that it?s over,? he said. ?We?re seeing fewer cases in our county, but there?s always a lag in reporting. Those numbers could change tomorrow


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