By Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal
CORINTH – The Mississippi Department of Health is in the early stages of investigating an outbreak of salmonella in Corinth after Magnolia Regional Health Center reported at least 17 positive tests for the illness as of Wednesday.
“We’re notified when a hospital notices an unusually high number of incidents in the emergency room, in this case, gastrointestinal illness,” said Liz Sharlot, communications director for the state health department. “We immediately began an investigation.”
The investigation includes interviewing the physicians as well as patients, getting food samples and stool samples, then putting all the pieces together, she said.
Hospital CEO Rick Napper said they wanted to notify the public of these cases, which began appearing on Nov. 28.
“All of the cases are in stable condition or have been treated and released,” he said. “The analysis of this situation has been turned over to the Mississippi State Health Department.”
Salmonella is a food poisoning caused by bacteria. About 40,000 cases are reported in the United States each year. Beef, poultry, milk and eggs are most often infected with salmonella, but vegetables also may be contaminated.
Symptoms include diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps, usually occurring within 12 to 72 hours after infection and lasting from four days to a week. Most people recover without treatment, but some individuals may experience dehydration and continued diarrhea and may need to seek medical attention.
The state health department is looking at a couple of local restaurants, Sharlot said, but no business has been closed at this point.
“It takes a while to put it all together, and if at any point we need to take action we certainly will,” Sharlot said.