A salmonella outbreak that occurred almost a year ago in Steamboat Springs cost taxpayers almost $40,000 and cost individuals more than $66,000, not to mention a lot of upset stomachs.
Those were the estimates the Routt County Department of Environmental Health gave the City Council on Tuesday night when it presented calculations for the costs of the foodborne illness outbreak.
The outbreak occurred Dec. 16, 2003, at the Seasons at the Pond restaurant, and 51 cases of salmonella were reported in the weeks that followed. Those contaminated ranged from 4 to 72 years old, and 96 percent were Routt County residents.
A group of Steamboat Springs School District food service workers were among those infected. The cost of the infection to the individual was estimated at $1,300 per person.
Three of those infected were hospitalized. All those infected said they had diarrhea, 81 percent had abdominal pain and 75 percent had a fever, according to environmental health statistics. As bad as the outbreak was, it could have been worse, says Nadine Harrach with the environmental health department. The chain of contamination was broken early, it did not spread to any schools or to children through the food service workers, there was not a second wave of outbreaks, and no one died, she said.