PERRY COUNTY, MO – The Perry County Health Department reported 4 more salmonella cases on Tuesday. Officials have now documented 40 cases dating back to August 7th. The department is investigating to identify the source of the outbreak. Symptoms can include days of diarrhea, headaches, stomach pain and fever.
“It’s a bacterial infection that usually has an abrupt onset of diarrhea,” said Sheila Hahs, R.N. and Communicable Disease Coordinator for the Perry County Health Department. “The incubation period is from 6 to 72 hours but usually you’ll see it in 12 – 36 hours.”
Salmonella can be the result of eating food contaminated with animal feces. Some residents complained of getting sick following an annual church picnic in Perryville. Health officials are investigating but as of Tuesday afternoon could not say whether any salmonella cases could be connected to the picnic.
Hahs stressed the importance of good hand-washing habits while handling food.
“So many foodborne illnesses are because someone did not wash their hands properly,” said Hahs. “Use warm soap, water, and friction.”
She said a good rule of thumb is to wash your hands for 20 seconds, making sure you clean around your fingernails, jewelry and up to your wrists.
She said there have been a few of the 40 reported cases that required hospitalization. She said those cases are typically the result of dehydration.