Some sickened by food at seminar in Portsmouth

Special to the Gazette • November 2, 2008


Source of Article:’s this?

At least one person has contacted the Ross County Health District with questions concerning an apparent food-borne illness that has affected some who attended the Oct. 22 Bridges Out of Poverty seminar at the Southern Ohio Medical Center's Friends Center in Portsmouth.

According to a report in the Portsmouth Daily Times, the city health department is investigating some reported illnesses tied to the event catered by Sodexo Catering Services. The meals were boxed lunches containing deli meat, and that same batch of meat also was served to students and staff in the university's deli salad bar that day.

Shawnee State University, which sponsored the event, is cooperating with the health department in the investigation. Sodexo also indicated to the Daily Times that they are cooperating with the probe and want to find the source of the problem.

Some of the symptoms being reported include vomiting, nausea, cramping and diarrhea. Those affected have generally been improving within 8 to 24 hours of displaying symptoms.

A public health awareness bulletin was released by the health department to help with the investigation. Dr. Randy Schlegel, emergency planning director for both the Portsmouth and Scioto County health departments, told the Daily Times there may also be cases tied to this illness in Adams County and "possibly in Huntington."

Rami Yoakum, public information officer for the Ross County Health District, said the local health district has received an inquiry about the illness.

"We did get a call today (Friday) from a Ross County resident who attended that meeting and, although she hadn't gotten sick, she was concerned about the fact that she could potentially pass something on," Yoakum said.

He added that in the case of this type of illness, the only way it could be spread is through direct contact with a person's stool and not through airborne methods such as sneezing or coughing.

Anyone who attended the event locally and may have experienced symptoms is asked to call the Portsmouth Health Department at (740) 353-5153, ext. 221.



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