Reports of vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea from individuals who attended a February 2018 fundraising event for the conservation group We Are Outdoors in Ohio have local health officials concerned that there could be a food poisoning outbreak in the area. 24 people who were at the event reported symptoms that could mean a few different types of food poisoning, such as norovirus, Salmonella, E.Coli, or Clostridium perfringens. Local health officials cannot determine a specific bacterial or viral cause of the attendees’ symptoms just yet, but are currently investigating the situation.
Few Details for the Outbreak Yet
Health department officials reported that they do not know much about the outbreak yet, other than that 24 people who were at the event reported feeling ill afterward. Their illnesses could have been caused by one or more of the following:
- Contaminated water used to clean vegetables and provided as a beverage;
- A contaminated beverage other than water;
- Contaminated food;
- An ill attendee; or
- An ill food handler.
Harmful bacteria can easily be transferred from one food item to another via handlers’ hands, serving utensils, cutting boards, and kitchen utensils. In this manner, bacteria can also move from an infected person to the food, then into all other diners’ bodies.
Using Online Resources to Investigate the Outbreak
Investigating a food poisoning outbreak with the intent to contain it and protect additional people from becoming sick involves gathering as much information about the outbreak as possible to identify the pathogen involved and trace its path back to its origin. To conduct its investigation of the We Are Outdoors outbreak, the Wood County Health District created an online survey that attendees can use to report their symptoms. Using online resources like surveys and social media to track outbreaks is one of the innovative ways health departments have changed their investigation process in the past decade.
Along with its online survey, the health department is interviewing individuals who attended the event and those who worked at it to recover as much information as possible. Other information to support a food poisoning investigation comes from doctors who test patients’ stools for harmful pathogens. By comparing the pathogens present in patients’ samples and those present in the food from an event, investigators can uncover the cause of the patients’ illness.
Work with an Experienced Chicago Food Poisoning Lawyer
If you experienced food poisoning symptoms, report them to your local health department. Reporting your symptoms along with what and where you ate during a specific period of time can be hugely beneficial to the health department as it conducts an investigation of a potential outbreak. If you experienced financial damages as a result of your condition, speak with one of the experienced food poisoning lawyers on our team at Newland & Newland, LLP about pursuing compensation for your damages through a personal injury claim. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation in our office. We serve clients in the Arlington Heights, Palatine, Rolling Meadows, Libertyville, Mundelein, Buffalo Grove, Schaumburg, Elk Grove, and Itasca areas.
(image courtesy of Amanda Kerr)