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Originally published: 2014-06-07 09:44:36
Last modified: 2014-06-10 11:45:28

UPDATE Health department: 37 report Salmonellosis symptoms

by Allison Haver

Update: The investigation into reports of illness associated with having eaten at Proper restaurant in Boone is ongoing. 


"We are still process of determining the cause of the illness and are still interviewing people," Jennifer Greene with the Appalachian Health District Department said.  "We are still grateful to Proper for the cooperation we have received from them through this investigation."


The number of people reporting symptoms including diarrhea, abdominal pain and fever, within three days of having eaten at Proper has been growing.


 As of 1 p.m. on Monday, June 9, there were 37 individuals with signs and symptoms consistent with Salmonellosis according to a release sent out by the Health Department.
Seven of these individuals are confirmed cases. None have been hospitalized and none died.


From previous reporting: 
The Watauga County office of Appalachian District Health Department is now working with the N.C. Division of Public Health to investigate an outbreak of gastrointestinal illness among patrons of a Boone restaurant.

As of Friday, the Appalachian District Health Department had identified nine individuals with signs and symptoms consistent with a gastrointestinal illness, according to health officials.

So far, five cases of salmonellosis have been confirmed and none have been hospitalized, they said.

The individuals identified by the health department displayed symptoms such as diarrhea, stomach pain, fever, nausea and sometimes vomiting.

All of the infected individuals ate at the same food establishment, Proper restaurant, one to three days before becoming ill, according to a news release from the heath department.

Salmonellosis is an infection caused by bacteria called Salmonella. It is transmitted by food, water, or surfaces that have been contaminated with the feces of an infected animal or person. It can also be found in unpasteurized egg and milk products.

 "We are still investigating to determine the source (or sources) of infection. We are also actively working with restaurant management to resolve this as soon as possible," said Beth Lovette, health director.
 
"We would like to thank the restaurant for their cooperation. The restaurant has been diligent and responsive during this process and we appreciate their commitment to the safety of their customers," Lovette said.

"I really regret that people have gotten sick," owner of Proper Angela Kelly said. "I'm glad that there was a press release sent out so people will know what's going on and, if they have any of these symptoms, they can get it taken care of."

Kelly also said she was available to anyone who had questions.
"We are just going to take what we have learned about food safety and move forward," Kelly said.

The health department is asking anyone who ate food or drank beverages from Proper (142 S. Water St., Boone) on or after Saturday, May 17, and started having diarrhea within three days of eating or drinking to call the department at (828) 264-6635.

If individuals call after hours or on the weekend, they should stay on the line to be connected to on-call staff.

"We want people to call the health department even if they have recovered so we can ask them questions in hopes of identifying the source of the contamination." Lovette said.

To help avoid the illness, the health department advises that meats and eggs be thoroughly cooked before eating; only consume products that have been pasteurized; and thoroughly wash hands after dealing with animals, before eating or preparing foods for others, and after using the restroom.

For additional information about Appalachian District Health Department, call (828) 264-6635 or visit the website at http://www.apphealth.com.