COVINGTON, Ga. - The Newton County Health Department is continuing to investigate an outbreak of Salmonella.
The initial outbreak was reported to our office on May 4 due to illness among attendees at a closed, invitation-only event held in Newton County on April 28. During the process of investigating this event, the caterer that provided food for this event, Plain Nuts Catering & Deli, was investigated per protocol. All food and drink items along with other exposure possibilities were fully investigated. A survey was developed and sent out to event attendees to gather information on exposures and subsequent illness.
During the process of investigating this outbreak, additional cases of gastrointestinal illness including one confirmed case of Salmonella was reported among individuals in who did not attend the event but had consumed food prepared by the same caterer.
On May 15, illnesses, including a confirmed case of Salmonella, among individuals attending a separate function held on May 9th in Social Circle, GA were also reported. A survey was developed and distributed to again collect exposure and illness information. Investigation of these reported illnesses also identified food prepared by the same caterer as a potential source of exposure. Exposure and illness information from this second cluster of illness is still under investigation; however, out of the abundance of caution, the catering facility has closed until a full investigation can be conducted. The last exposure date reported among ill individuals was May 9th. There is no indication of an ongoing threat of Salmonella infections related to this outbreak.
Plain Nuts Catering & Deli has been fully cooperative with all Health Department requests and has provided all requested information. Additional on-site training has been provided to all staff and additional screening of food service staff is underway. In addition, the facility has followed the Health Department recommendations of conducting a full enhanced cleaning of the facility prior to re-opening.
Salmonella is a bacteria that commonly causes foodborne illness. “CDC estimates Salmonella causes about 1.2 million illnesses, 23,000 hospitalizations, and 450 deaths in the United States every year. Food is the source for about 1 million of these illnesses.” Additional information about Salmonella and foodborne illness, specifically relating to food safety, can be found at: https://www.cdc.gov/features/salmonella-food/.
The Health Department investigates all reports of illness on an ongoing basis and encourages individuals to report illness to allow for prompt investigation. Illnesses can be reported by calling our Foodborne Illness Hotline at 770-339-4BUG. In addition, confirmed Salmonella infections are reportable to Public Health in GA. If you have questions regarding your health, please contact your physician. If you have general questions about Salmonella, please contact our office at 770-339-4260 and ask to speak with the Epidemiologist on call.