Salmonella in Syracuse Restaurant

Plainville’s Natures Fair Restaurant in Cicero, New York is closed until next Friday following a <"">salmonella outbreak in which 20 people, including an employee, fell ill.  The outbreak began in mid-August and has continued through October 19.  Some of those who fell ill were hospitalized.

While the restaurant is closed, owner Mark Bitz says it will clean the place top to bottom, test their employees, and also review its practices. Onondaga County Health Commissioner Doctor Cynthia Morrow says she is not certain from where the salmonella originated, but noted that, “We do know that a similar strain, not an identical strain, but a similar strain was found in Minnesota turkeys.  We believe that it’s most likely associated with the turkeys but we don’t know that yet,” said Morrow.  Morrow said that she expects a few more cases.  Salmonella is often linked with turkeys, but health officials cannot confirm that turkeys are to blame in this case.

Meanwhile, the decision to close the restaurant came Thursday.  The delay is being blamed over there being no single event tracing the illness to a definitive source as well as some difficulty in obtaining tests results, delaying the information that enabled experts to name Plainville as the likely common source.  “It’s hard to know—we may never know the exact source, but certainly all steps being taken by the facility are going to ensure this isn’t going to happen again,” said Dr. Morrow.  “I intend, when we open, to be stronger than ever,” Bitz said.  The plan is to have the restaurant open again November 7.

Salmonellosis is an infection caused by the Salmonella bacterium, is usually found in food contaminated with animal feces, and can occur when food is improperly stored or handled and when preparers do not wash their hands or sanitize implements used in meat storage.  Salmonella can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.  Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and cramping within 12 to 72 hours of infection.  Generally, the illness lasts a week.

In some infected with Salmonellosis, hospitalization is required because the infection may have spread to the blood stream and other body sites.  Without treatment, severe cases of Salmonellosis can result in death; however, some Salmonella bacteria are resistant to antibiotics, largely due to the use of antibiotics to promote the growth of feed animals.

Salmonella poisoning can also lead to Reiter’s Syndrome, a difficult-to-treat reactive arthritis characterized by severe joint pain, irritation of the eyes and painful urination.  A victim of Reiter’s Syndrome may have already been treated for the initial infection, and it can be weeks before the symptoms of Reiter’s Syndrome become apparent.  Reiter’s Syndrome, which can plague its victims for months or years, is said to occur when reactive arthritis is evident and at least one other non-joint area, such as the eyes, skin or muscles, is affected.

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