Princeton Salmonella Now Confirmed in 22May 12, 2008 | Parker Waichman LLP
The number of confirmed Salmonella poisoning cases at Princeton University has quadrupled in only a week. At least 22 people - including 20 students and two staff - have tested positive for the food borne illness. Health officials at the Ivy League school are trying to confirm if as many as 70 other cases of stomach ailments are related to the Princeton Salmonella outbreak.
The first case of Salmonella at Princeton was confirmed on April 29 through lab tests. The cases all appear to be the same strain of Salmonella, and officials are trying to pin down the origin of the outbreak. Investigators have taken and will continue to take stool samples from individuals reporting stomach problems. They are also interviewing victims to obtain their complete food histories. Results of lab tests are expected to start coming in soon.
The origin of the Princeton Salmonella outbreak has yet to be determined. Last week, a spokesperson for the University said that its food services department has sent 20 categories of food served on campus to labs for testing. At the same time, the University also closed some of its food stations at the Frist Campus Center, suspended services of a range of food that might be linked to Salmonella and changed some food vendors. This week, a salad bar and a Mexican food station at the center remain closed as a precaution.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Salmonella bacteria sicken 40,000 people every year. Although the true number could be much higher, because it is estimated that for every case of Salmonella poisoning reported, two others are unreported. Salmonella causes fever, abdominal pain, nausea, gas and bloody diarrhea. Symptoms appear within 36 hours of exposure, and usually last four to seven days. In very severe cases, Salmonella can lead to kidney failure and other complications. Salmonella can be particularly dangerous for children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems. In rare cases, Salmonella can cause a disease called Reiter’s Syndrome, a difficult- to- treat condition that causes severe joint pain, irritation of the eyes, and painful urination.
Over the last year and half, hundreds of people were sickened by Salmonella-tainted Peter Pan Peanut Butter and Banquet Pot Pies sold by ConAgra foods. In the past couple of months, Malt-O-Meal Cereal has been blamed for 23 cases of Salmonella, while Honduran cantaloupe was recalled after in was linked to more than 50 cases of the disease. Smaller outbreaks of Salmonella are reported on a regular basis throughout the country.