Blue Hill Salmonella Investigation Comes to a Close

By: Erin Myers Email
By: Erin Myers Email

It's been about two months since an outbreak of food-borne illness sickened 21 residents, staff members and visitors of the Blue Hill Care Center. Local and state public health departments launched an investigation in August and now the results are in.

Lab tests, surveys and interviews were conducted to try and narrow down the origin of the illness.
Dr. Michele Bever is Executive Director of South Heartland District Health Department.
She says they can't pin point the source, but they have a good idea of when and where it came from.

"Our conclusion was that it was very likely a particular meal on a particular day. And from surveys, it was likely particular foods," said Dr. Bever.

In this case, Bever says the salmonella most likely came from chicken. She says there is no way to know for sure because there isn't left over food from the meal that can be tested.
Bever says she doesn't believe anyone can be held accountable.

UNL Extension Educator Kayte Tranel says it's important to remember proper food preparation.
Even after you're done cooking, your food is still at risk if kept at room temperature for too long.

"Room temperature is the temperature they really like and can thrive in and multiply. So leaving food at that temperature for a prolonged amount of time gives the possibility that someone could get sick if they consume that food," said Tranel.

Tranel says having good personal hygiene, like washing your hands, is one of the best ways to avoid food illness.
Also, she advises to make sure food is prepared and cooked as directed.

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