Salmonella Pudding Caused Illnesses at New Hampshire Camp

We recently reported that dozens of middle school children fell ill with <"">Salmonella poisoning. The unusually high incidence of absences prompted a Department of Health and Human Services investigation (HHS), said The Eagle Tribune, which is now reporting that health officials linked the outbreak to pudding served to campers at Stone Environmental Camp. The camp was closed last week when a second group of campers became infected with the dangerous, sometimes deadly, pathogen, said The Eagle Tribune.

Last week, more students from two other schools became sick at the Stone Environmental Camp while the outbreak was being investigated, said The Eagle Tribune. State public health director Dr. Jose Montero closed the camp during the investigation. When HHS found that pudding was to blame and was able to locate the mixer used to prepare the pudding, the state allowed the camp to reopen, said The Eagle Tribune.

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, and abdominal pain within 12 to 72 hours of contamination. Generally, the illness lasts a week, but, in some, hospitalization is required because the infection may have spread to the blood stream and other body sites, producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis, and arthritis. Without treatment, severe cases of Salmonellosis can result in death. Unfortunately, some Salmonella bacteria are resistant to antibiotics, largely due to the use of antibiotics to promote the growth of feed animals.

Salmonella is usually found in food contaminated with animal feces and is a group of bacteria that passes from the feces of people or animals to other people or animals, causing contamination when food is improperly stored or handled and when preparers do not wash their hands or sanitize implements involved in food storage.

Salmonella is the most frequently reported cause of food-related outbreaks of stomach illness worldwide and Salmonella poisoning can 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.

Salmonella poisoning is the culprit in the massive food borne contamination linked to the Peanut Corporation of America’s (PCA) peanuts and peanut products, the multi-state Salmonella poisoning outbreak linked to a variety of SunSprout Enterprises sprouts, tainted spices and other food products from the Union International Food Company, and the growing pistachio recall linked to Setton Pistachio, to name just some in recent days.

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