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Undercooked turkey blamed for salmonella outbreak

Undercooked turkey at a Camden restaurant is most likely the cause of one of the worst food-borne salmonella outbreaks in South Carolina in recent years, the state health department said Friday.

More than 300 people were sickened and one 58-year-old man died after eating at the Old South Restaurant in Camden about two weeks ago. Some 56 people also were hospitalized, according to the state Department of Health and Environmental Control.

"It is likely that turkey was the vehicle, with preparation and handling practices possibly contributing to illness," said Dr. Jerry Gibson, the state epidemiologist.

The agency took almost two weeks to determine the source because many people who had not eaten any turkey also became ill, possibly from preparing raw meat with contaminated utensils or on contaminated countertops. The bacteria also could be spread by workers not washing their hands.