Salmonella Death Reported at Maine Retirement Home

Two weeks after the retirement and assisted living facility, Quarry Hill, was struck with a <"">Salmonella outbreak, the Bangor Daily News wrote that one person died and another was hospitalized for Salmonella Infection

To date, seven cases tested positive for Salmonella Bacteria, said Dr. Stephen Sears, who is the acting director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, according to the Bangor Daily News. “The resident who died repeatedly declined treatment before being admitted to the hospital,” Christopher Burke, director of marketing and communications at Pen Bay Health Care, said, quoted the paper.

Of note, Pen Bay Health Care is the parent organization of Quarry Hill and of Penobscot Bay Medical Center in Rockport, said Bangor Daily News. The one death occurred on February 2 at the Penobscot Bay Medical Center. The resident who died lived in the facility’s assisted living wing; the other patient, who has been hospitalized, lives in the memory impairment assisted living wing of the facility, said Burke.

The Maine Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) dispatched two epidemiologists to the facility to determine if other residents are ill and to attempt to locate the source of the Food Poisoning outbreak, said the Bangor Daily News. The CDC is also working on teaching staff about salmonellosis, the infection caused by the Salmonella Bacteria. Dr. Sears said that the origin of the Foodborne Illness outbreak remains unknown.

“It’s usually food-borne to start with. We looked to try to find a food source,” he said. “Oftentimes when we start investigating, the food’s gone. It’s gone, it’s been consumed, there isn’t any way to find one thing that everybody ate,” quoted the Bangor Daily News.

The Salmonella strain has been confirmed as Salmonella javiana, Dr. Sears said. The Maine CDC has not seen that particular strain in Maine recently, but Dr. Sears noted that Salmonella is linked with “every type of food known,” wrote the Bangor Daily News.

An attorney with the Food Safety Program at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) said that food borne illnesses are occurring in nursing homes and hospitals with significant frequency, pointing out that foodborne illness is preventable at every step from farm to table, and noting that outbreaks are generally never the fault of the consumer, reported the Bangor Daily News.

Salmonella-contaminated food may not look or smell spoiled; however, consumption of food contaminated with the Salmonella Bacteria may cause Salmonella Infection, known as salmonellosis. According to the U.S. CDC, people infected with the Food Poisoning pathogen usually experience Symptoms of Salmonella Poisoning from 12 to 72 hours after consuming a contaminated food or beverage. Food Poisoning Symptoms include fever, Vomiting, Abdominal Cramps, and diarrhea. Symptoms of Salmonella usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most persons recover without antibiotic treatment; however, diarrhea can be severe, and hospitalization may be required.

The elderly, infants, and those with impaired immune systems may have a more serious illness and Salmonella Symptoms. In these patients, the infection may spread from the intestines to the blood stream, and then to other body sites, and can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics.

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