The Louisiana’s Department of Health is investigating a Salmonella outbreak in Caldwell Parish that has sickened more than 100 and may have contributed to one death. Local and state authorities trying to determine if the death of a 56-year-old man, Duane Reitzell, was connected to a mass illness.
Samantha Hartmann, press officer for the Louisiana Department of Health, said preliminary tests of samples have returned positive for Salmonella.
As of Thursday, 49 cases of a gastrointestinal illness were confirmed with 31 people hospitalized, the Department of Health reported. The ages of those with a confirmed illness range from 15 to 70.
State officials also reported Thursday samples taken from five people have tested positive for salmonella.
Sheriff Clay Bennett, who also is sick, said more than 100 residents have sought medical treatment. Bennett said workers at the sheriff’s office also fell ill Tuesday afternoon. He said employees ate jambalaya from a local softball fundraiser, but no one was certain about the origin of the illness. Bennett said the illness could have come from anything.
Virginia Health officials say about 150 people living in eight states have been sickened by salmonella after attending a chili cook-off in Virginia.
Dr. David Matson, director of the state’s Eastern Shore Health District, said by phone Wednesday that half of them have sought medical treatment. Some have been hospitalized.
More than 2,000 people attended the 18th Annual Chincoteague Chili Chowder Cook-Off and Car Show on Sept. 30.
Matson said most people sickened by the bacteria have already become ill with diarrhea, vomiting and fever.
Officials are asking cook-off attendees to fill out a survey as they determine the bacteria’s source.
People who’ve gotten sick live in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and North Carolina.