Food Poisoning Outbreak Linked to Newark Restaurant

Another food poisoning outbreak—apparently linked to a Newark, New Jersey restaurant—may have started on Christmas Eve, said NJ.com. It seems patrons of the Iberia Peninsula restaurant are suffering from symptoms that point to <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/topics/overview/salmonella">Salmonella poisoning, said those who ate at the restaurant and city officials, reported NJ.com.

“There are two fellas that (sic) are still in the hospital and nine people that (sic) are on antibiotics,” said Manuel Guerra, a manager at Leslie Furniture. Leslie Furniture is located in the Ironbound section of Newark and was hosting an annual Christmas party at Iberia Peninsula, a Portuguese restaurant, said NJ.com. Among those ill, Guerra’s nephew remains hospitalized. “Never in my life did I think it could be this bad,” Guerra said, describing his nephew’s illness; “Right now they’re 99 percent sure it’s Salmonella,” quoted NJ.com.

Salmonella infections—Salmonellosis—can be life threatening, especially to those with weak immune systems, such as infants, the elderly, and persons with HIV infection or undergoing chemotherapy. The most common manifestations of Salmonellosis are diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within eight to 72 hours. Additional symptoms may be chills, headache, nausea, and vomiting that can last up to seven days.

We recently wrote that food poisoning can lead to other adverse health effects, some long-term and serious, such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), specifically in people who suffered from Salmonellosis, with the risk increasing three-fold. The risk increases to five-fold if the patient was hospitalized close to the illness. More than 600,000 Americans have some kind of IBD—a group of disorders that includes ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease—which cause the intestines to become inflamed. IBD can also cause abdominal cramps, pain, diarrhea, weight loss, and bleeding from the intestines.

Victims are also at risk of developing a form of reactive arthritis called Reiter’s Syndrome, which typically affects large weight-bearing joints such as the knees and the lower back. The LATimes previously noted that Salmonella is the primary cause of food borne illness in the U.S. and is typically found in foods with animal origins, causing 16,000 illnesses and 556 deaths annually. The New Jersey Department of Health and Human Services noted that Salmonellosis is typically passed through infected meat, said NJ.com. “Thorough cooking kills Salmonella organisms,” according to the health department Website, quoted NJ.com. “Incompletely cooked meat products are a potential source for salmonella-caused illness.”

Newark health officials have neither confirmed the cause or the illness; however, city inspectors have been at Iberia Peninsula since Tuesday to monitor food preparation, said NJ.com. “Our inspectors have been there for many hours and we’re reinforcing what they already know,” said Peter Dillon, director of inspections at Newark’s Department of Environmental Health, reported NJ.com.

It is believed that the outbreaks began following a baptism party that hospitalized a 71-year-old man, said NJ.com. Leslie Furniture staff ate at Iberia Peninsula Saturday and began complaining of symptoms Sunday. “Monday we came to work and my boss said, ‘Is everybody ok?’” said John Silva, 35. “That’s when I realized three people were in the hospital.” Nearly 20 workers fell ill, said NJ.com. Another group was reportedly infected following a Christmas Eve event; however, confirmation is not expected until next week, said NJ.com.

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