The Alabama Department of Public Health is investigating an outbreak of foodborne illness in Sheffield, near Muscle Shoals, the Florence Times Daily reports. Guests who attended a wedding reception Saturday evening later reported vomiting, diarrhea, fever and severe abdominal pains, but a specific pathogen has not yet been identified.
Food Safety News reports that at least 40 people have sought medical attention and six have been hospitalized. Dr. Karen Landers, assistant state health officer, told Food Safety News that number probably would change. Health officials are not sharing details about the venue, the caterer, or the food served at the event attended by 150 people.
The Times Daily reported the source of the reception food as a local caterer who had also served food at a 2014 luncheon where several people were sickened from food poisoning, with one person dying. Other businesses also provided food for that event, however, and no food samples were tested, so no definitive link was established.
Food samples and patient stool samples are currently being analyzed in the state laboratory, and preliminary results could be available by Thursday, Landers told Food Safety News. “We have a menu (from the event), and it is appropriate to check the entire menu and what patients ingested,” she said. “We should not focus on one food agent.” READ MOR