72 in Estill County have stomach sickness; 35 salmonella cases confirmed; eight people hospitalized; restaurant closes voluntarily

The Estill County Health Department reported Feb. 11 that 72 people in the county have reported “gastrointestinal illness,” 35 of them have tested positive for salmonella and eight have been hospitalized with “symptoms and suspected Salmonella poisoning,” Lexington’s WKYT-TV reports.

County and state health officials are still working to determine the cause of the outbreak.

The health department said most of the victims had eaten at the Eagles Roost Sports Bar in Irvine before getting sick, but not all, so “Officials are still searching for a source of the outbreak,” WLEX-TV reports.

Health officials told WKYT Feb. 10 that an inspector from the state Food Safety Branch had inspected the restaurant in question and found no infractions, but did take two food samples back to the state lab for further testing. The restaurant received a score of 99 on its most recent health inspection and is cleared to be open.

However, the owner of the Eagles Roost, Don Wiseman, has voluntarily closed its doors for now and told WLEX that he is just being cautious: “I mean, in my heart I felt like I was okay, but I didn’t know for sure. I didn’t want to take a chance that, that I was the cause of any illness.”

Symptoms of salmonella include diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps; they usually appear 12 to 72 hours after becoming infected and last up to a week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The elderly, infants, and those with impaired immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness from an infection.

People with these symptoms are asked to consult with their doctor and to report them to their local or state health department.

Salmonella infection is a type of food poisoning caused by one of several strains of Salmonella bacteria. Most often it is caused by eating foods contaminated with the bacteria, but it can also be caused by handling pets, especially if they have diarrhea, reptiles, baby chicks and ducklings and small pet rodents and then not washing your hands, according to WebMD.

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