NORTH DAKOTA: Probe into salmonella outbreaks winding down
Posted: December 10th, 2009 - 4:35pm
Source: Bismarck Tribune
A final report by the State Health Department regarding an unlicensed caterer linked to salmonella food poisoning last summer is near completion.
But any action, if any, likely will not come before the end of February.
More than 150 people became ill after Aggie Jennings of rural Washburn catered three separate events — a family reunion and two weddings in June — and the illnesses were confirmed as salmonella poisoning.
Two outbreaks were reported following a wedding in Washburn and a family reunion in Wilton on June 13.
State epidemidologist Kirby Kruger said 32 people who attended the wedding met the case definition of salmonella poisoning and 13 tested positive for salmonella montevideo, a strain associated with baby chickens.
Jennings raised chickens at her rural residence, he said.
In 2007, seven people from different areas in the state became sick with salmonella montevideo.
The DNA pattern in the most recent cases matched that pattern and can be traced to a hatchery in Iowa, Kruger said during the investigation.
At the reunion, 47 met the case definition of salmonella poisoning with 12 testing positive for the strain.
Nine people were hospitalized for treatment.
After the outbreak, the First District Health Unit in Minot issued a cease-and-desist order to Jennings, telling her to stop all catering activities.
The following weekend Jennings catered a wedding in McClusky where more than 15 people became ill with salmonella poisoning.
Lisa Clute, executive officer for the First District Health Unit, said the unit’s board of directors last met in July and decided not to pursue charges against Jennings at that time.
Clute said there is a two-year statute of limitations that applies in the case and charges could be recommended in the future.