The number of reported cases of salmonella has risen to 51 over the past week. Of those, nine have been confirmed as salmonella.
Vernon Goins, public information officer for the state Division of Public Health's East Metro Health District, said three other cases are pending on test results.
Many of the individuals reporting salmonella symptoms were in attendance at Sherman's Last Burning the weekend of Oct. 12-14. The event, hosted by the Covington Lions Club, featured 15 food vendors including the Lions Club who sold barbecue plates prepared by BareKnuckles BBQ.
As the symptoms of salmonella typically take six to 72 hours to present, no new cases are expected (assuming the point of infection was indeed at Sherman's Last Burning). The number or reported cases could rise if more individuals who have not yet contacted either The Newton County Health Department or their own doctor report experiencing salmonella symptoms.
Those who have contracted salmonella should be nearing the end of their recovery period Goins said.
"Unless they have a suppressed immune system, they should be recovered," Goins said.
According to The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, salmonella infections usually resolve themselves in five to seven days and often do not require treatment unless the individual becomes severely dehydrated. Symptoms of salmonella include fever, diarrhea, abdominal cramps and vomiting.
"It's rare that something like this happens, but fortunately the consequences are not as severe as they could be," Goins said.
Additionally the Health Department has prepared a questionnaire for all individuals reporting salmonella symptoms. The aid of The Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University's Student Outbreak Response Team has been enlisted in gathering answers for the questionnaire.
As all of the food consumed at Sherman's Last Burning is now gone, Goins said the Health Department will have to rely on a statistical analysis in determining the cause of the salmonella outbreak.
Goins estimated it would take 10 days to complete the study which is set to launch today.
"The Lions Club has been very cooperative," Goins said. "They are going out of their way to be helpful. We sympathize with the people who were made sick and the fair organizers."