The Sandy Plains Baptist Church in Shelby is the focus of an investigation by state and county health officials searching for the cause of an outbreak of Salmonella. The outbreak was first reported following the annual fund-raising barbecue at Sandy Plains Baptist Church on New House Road last Saturday.

Cleveland County and North Carolina health officials first said nine people were sickened following the barbecue and five of those cases were serious enough to require hospitalization. Thursday, the numbers jumped to 54 probable cases. Eleven of them are confirmed. All but one person who has been hospitalized have been released.