Health Officials Deal with Salmonella Outbreak

By: Stephen Bowers Email
By: Stephen Bowers Email

Since September, at least 488 people nationally 0000have been affected by a salmonella outbreak that has been traced to a rare source, peanut butter.

Three cases have been reported in Mississippi, the closest being in Forrest County near Hattiesburg. One case has been reported in Alabama.

District health officer, Dr. Rebecca "Tree" James of the Mississippi Health Department says that most people will only show mild symptoms, but conditions may be worse in some people and they should see a doctor.

"Usually it causes symptoms of fever, nausea, diarrhea, headaches, the yucks, and it goes away on its own," James said. "The very young and the elderly and people whose immune systems aren't working well are at the highest risk for it spreading from the intensities to the blood stream and then can go to other organs and cause pneumonia."

Dr. James says symptoms usually appear 12-72 hours after ingesting food items contaminated by salmonella. Once the symptoms start showing up, they will begin clearing up on their own in 5-7 days for most people.

Salmonella is usually contracted from raw meat.

"Everyone who cooks and handles meats is at risk for picking it up on their hands, so it's very important to wash hands while you're preparing your foods," James said. "Wash your hands if you've been handling raw meat. Wash the counter surfaces. Wash your knives and utensils before using them on anything else."

You should also wash containers used for raw meat before reusing them, even if you are putting the same meat in after cooking it. Rinsing those containers is not enough.

Products containing peanut butter that have been affected by salmonella have been pulled from supermarket shelves, and at this point, anything you buy in stores is likely all right to eat.

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