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Two Burger King restaurants in Bemidji, MN, were temporarily closed Nov. 30 after at least 27 people contracted Salmonella food poisoning, news sources are reporting.
Doug Schultz, a spokesperson for the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), said the department has confirmed 27 cases. In addition, Schultz said there are four more probable cases.
Most cases were identified in September, Schultz said, but the victims may have been exposed to Salmonella before then. Two additional cases were revealed this week, prompting the closures.
“They may have been sick a couple weeks or so before then,” Schultz told the Bemidji Pioneer Press. “It takes a while before people get symptoms, and then they’re sick enough to go to the doctor, and then we identify.”
After the outbreak was identified in September, the MDH put “stringent” interventions in place, Schultz said. Both restaurants were cleaned, and all employees with symptoms were kept from working until they were symptom-free for 72 hours. Those precautions, however, did not stop the outbreak.
“Most of the time that does the trick; 98 percent of the time we don’t see further transmission,” Schultz said.
One million cases yearly
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that Salmonella bacteria is responsible for as many as 1 million foodborne illnesses in the U.S. annually.
Salmonella produces an illness called Salmonellosis, which affects the intestinal tract. It and is one of the most common types of food poisoning annually.
Salmonellosis can develop anywhere from 12 hours to three days after eating contaminated food. Most people recover without treatment, but diarrhea can become so severe that hospitalization is required.
Symptoms can last for as long as a week and include:
- abdominal pain