At least 50 people are believed to have contracted salmonella after a church barbeque in Tennessee.
The incident occurred at the annual St. Patrick Irish picnic, which brings in nearly 20,000 people. "I'm just heartbroken," Michael Bradley, picnic organizer, told News Channel 5. "We provide Clorox, disinfectant, and gloves to everyone. We're working with the health department to help them learn what happened."
"People can rest assured-we've had 158 years without any problems-that we won't have any problems (knock on wood) next year," Bradley said.
The picnic is held annually to raise funds for the school and church, which are both being investigated and tested for salmonella.
According to the Mayo Clinic, salmonella is generally caused by the consumption of raw or undercooked meat, poultry, and eggs. Symptoms of infection include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, chills or fever, headache, and muscle pains that last four to seven days.
Generally, a salmonella outbreak leads to a recall of products, but in this case that is nearly impossible. Reporters noted that several of those at the picnic have not tested positive for the salmonella bacteria and are healthy. It only adds to the mystery of what led to the outbreak, and researchers have said they may never know exactly what caused this particular infection.
One recent outbreak was traced to Cargill Meat Solutions, which led to the recall of over 29,000 pounds of fresh ground beef products. The Center for Disease Control reported that 40 people were infected across eight states in the Northeast. Eleven of those people were hospitalized and later released, and no deaths were recorded.
The CDC recommends that all people "cook poultry, ground beef and eggs thoroughly. Do not eat or drink foods containing raw eggs, or raw (unpasteurized) milk. If you are served undercooked meat, poultry, or eggs in a restaurant, don't hesitate to send it back."
Anyone who attended the St. Patrick's picnic and has been feeling ill should see a doctor immediately.