Public health officials have confirmed two more cases of Salmonella associated with a food poisoning outbreak in Catawba County, North Carolina.  According to an article published in the Hickory Daily Record today:

The number of confirmed cases stood at 15 as of late Wednesday afternoon, but 126 people have complained of Salmonella-like symptoms, they said.

Most of the people with symptoms had eaten last week at Carniceria y Taqueria Hermanos Chavez, located off U.S. 321 business. No other source has been identified. Officials continue to investigate.

Salmonella is one of the most common enteric (intestinal) infections in the United States. Salmonellosis (the disease caused by Salmonella) is the second most common foodborne illness after Campylobacter infection. It is estimated that 1.4 million cases of salmonellosis occur each year in the U.S.; 95% of those cases are foodborne-related. Approximately 220 of each 1000 cases result in hospitalization and eight of every 1000 cases result in death. About 500 to 1,000 or 31% of all food-related deaths are caused by Salmonella infections each year. Salmonellosis is more common in the warmer months of the year.

Salmonella infection occurs when the bacteria are ingested, typically from food derived from infected food-animals, but it can also occur by ingesting the feces of an infected animal or person. Food sources include raw or undercooked eggs/egg products, raw milk or raw milk products, contaminated water, meat and meat products, and poultry. Raw fruits and vegetables contaminated during slicing have been implicated in several foodborne outbreaks.