A Redmond picnic that caused more than 200 people to get sick back in June is featured in the July-August issue of the King County Department of Health's Communicable Disease and Epidemiology newsletter, SeattlePI.com reported today.
The newsletter (see attached PDF) presents the incident as a "Picnic Puzzler" case study that highlights the symptoms shown by those who fell ill and tells how the health department determined the source of the outbreak—a batch of spinach curry that came from a local restaurant and was contaminated with the bacteria Clostridium perfringens.
According to the PI, health department officials declined to identify the specific location of the picnic or those who organized it, saying that doing so would “breach community trust.” The picnic was a private event that drew around 500 people, the PI reported.
The health department's newsletter offered the following tips for identifying and responding to incidents of food-borne illness:
- Suspect a toxin-mediated foodborne illness in persons who experience gastrointestinal symptoms within hours after a meal, particularly after eating foods that may have been held at improper temperatures for more than a couple hours prior to eating.
- In general, foodborne illnesses from bacterial toxins are mild to moderate and usually resolve within 24-36 hours. Severe abdominal pain, bloody diarrhea, and persistent symptoms should trigger consideration of other diagnoses, including Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, Salmonella, Shigella, and Campylobacter infections.
- Report suspected outbreaks of foodborne illness to Public Health by calling 206-296-4774. Confirmatory testing may be considered for incidents involving facilities or large groups of people.
- For more information visit the CD-EPI website at www.kingcounty.gov/health/cd, and click on F for Food borne illness.
Click here to read the PI's take on the incident.