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Arkansas Department of Health Confirms Salmonellosis Outbreak in Benton

Ann Wright
May 1, 2005

Little Rock - The Arkansas Department of Health announced today an outbreak of Salmonellosis in Benton, Arkansas. To date, nine people have confirmed illnesses. There is a link to Café Santa Fe at 178324 Highway I-30, Benton. The Health Department does not believe that any other area restaurants are affected.

The restaurant voluntarily closed its doors and will reopen after approval from the Health Department to assure that no possible sources of contamination exists.

Salmonellosis is a bacterial infection that usually affects the intestines and occasionally the bloodstream. It is one of the more common causes of foodborne illness with several hundred cases occurring in Arkansas each year. Most cases occur in the summer months and are seen as single cases, clusters, or outbreaks. The bacteria are spread by eating or drinking contaminated food or water or by contact with infected people or animals.

People exposed to the Salmonella bacteria may have diarrhea, cramping, fever, nausea, vomiting and headache. Some people may have very mild or no symptoms, but some infections can be quite serious, especially in the very young or elderly. The symptoms generally appear 12 to 36 hours after exposure. Anyone who has eaten at the Café Santa Fe restaurant within the last seven days and is experiencing symptoms such as these should see a physician.

Dr. Joseph Bates, Deputy Director, states, “We are continuing to work with the restaurant on safe food handling practices. Education is the key to the prevention of communicable diseases. Café Santa Fe has been most cooperative in working with the Department during this outbreak.”

In 2003, 837 cases of Salmonellosis infection were reported to the Health Department.

For more information, visit the Arkansas Department of Health Web site at www.healthyarkansas.com.

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