One Death in Rhode Island Salmonella Outbreak

With 39 people sickened and 24 hospitalized, it’s no surprise that one person has reportedly died in a <"">Salmonella outbreak linked to zeppoles made by DeFusco’s Bakery of Johnston, Rhode Island. The Associated Press (AP) said an investigation is underway to determine if the man ate a contaminated pastry.

Spokeswoman for the state health department, Annemarie Bearsdsworth, said that the man, who was in his 80s, died on March 23, resided in Providence County, and tested positive for the same Salmonella strain involved in the outbreak.

According to officials, and as we’ve previously reported, many of those sickened reported having eaten zeppoles made by DeFusco’s Bakery, said the AP. The tainted pastries were also sold statewide and have since been recalled, said the AP, noting that the bakery has voluntarily closed, for now.

A prior report from the Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH), said the outbreak was likely caused by consumption of zeppole pastries that came in contact with raw eggs. Pastry shells from DeFusco’s were stored in used egg crates, which could have exposed the pastry shells to infected raw eggs. HEALTH’s State Laboratories are testing food samples to pinpoint the exact source of illness. Meanwhile, HEALTH has learned that American Bakery Supplies purchased zeppoles from DeFusco’s. That company distributed the pastries to Roch’s Market (West Warwick), Meal Works (Coventry), and Touch of Class Catering (West Warwick). Meal Works, a caterer, served the zeppoles at events on March and 18 at West Warwick Manor Senior Center; Sts. John and Paul Church (Coventry); Sparrow Point, a West Warwick senior facility; and Crescent Park Manor (Riverside).

Zeppoles from DeFusco’s Johnston store were also sold at all DeFusco’s locations, Colvitto’s Bistro (Narragansett), Sal’s Bakery (Providence), and Focaccia World (Johnston). All five Crugnale Bakery locations in Providence, East Providence, North Providence, Cranston, and Cumberland also sold DeFusco’s zeppoles March 16-20.

HEALTH also found unsafe food storage practices at Buono’s Bakery (Providence). Its zeppole, cream puff, and éclair shells were also stored in used egg crates, which could lead to contamination from raw eggs. People are advised to immediately discard all baked goods from any DeFusco’s; zeppoles from any of the locations mentioned; and zeppoles, cream puffs, and éclairs from Buono’s Bakery (Providence).

Salmonella is a bacterial infection that usually last 4 to 7 days. The infected person develops fever, abdominal cramps and diarrhea between 12 and 72 hours after becoming infected. Very young and very old people, as well as those with weakened immune systems can suffer severe illness and, in the worst cases possible, death, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Those who have eaten any of these potentially contaminated products and have fallen ill, especially with nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, should contact their healthcare provider immediately for evaluation and treatment. Because foods of animal origin, including eggs, may be contaminated with Salmonella, people should not eat raw or undercooked eggs, poultry, or meat or raw or unpasteurized milk or other dairy products; raw eggs and uncooked meats should be kept separate from produce, cooked foods, and ready-to-eat foods; hands, cutting boards, counters, and utensils should be washed thoroughly after touching uncooked foods; boxes that contained eggs or raw meat should never be used for any other purpose; and people should wash their hands before handling food, and between handling different food items.

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