A large outbreak of salmonella in Perryville, Mo. has sickened 32 people in the last week, local health officials said.
Between Monday and Thursday, at least 23 cases of salmonella infection were diagnosed at Perry County Memorial Hospital. The patients ranged from 2 to 68 years old and three required hospitalization, according to the hospital about 80 miles south of St. Louis. The number of infected has since grown to 32, according to the Perry County Health Department.
Local and state health departments are investigating the source of the outbreak, which is usually transmitted through contaminated food.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is currently investigating two multi-state salmonella outbreaks — one linked to raw turkey (no cases in Missouri) and the other linked to Hy-Vee pasta salad (three cases in Missouri).
In July, some Goldfish and Ritz crackers were recalled because the whey powder seasoning was possibly contaminated with salmonella. No illnesses have been reported from eating the crackers. An earlier outbreak of salmonella was linked to Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal, which sickened 100 people nationwide.
Statewide, there have been 578 cases of salmonella this year, up 13 percent over the five-year median.
Symptoms of salmonella infection can include bloody diarrhea, fever, fatigue, stomach cramps, vomiting and nausea that typically develop within 12 to 72 hours of eating contaminated food. Most people will recover within a week, but in some cases will need hospitalization for dehydration.
The youngest and oldest and people with compromised immune systems are most at risk of severe illness. Good hand hygiene is the best way to prevent the spread of salmonella.
Perry County Memorial Hospital started rapid testing in July to detect 22 of the most common germs that cause diarrhea.