Reporting Alex DeMetrick
FREDERICK COUNTY, Md. (WJZ)—A salmonella outbreak has shown up in Frederick County. Health experts know contaminated sausage is the culprit.
Alex DeMetrick reports the health department wants people who bought that sausage to know it could make them sick.
It flared up a couple of weeks ago when visits to the emergency room turned up salmonella cases in Frederick County.
“That’s what really triggered an investigation. It’s unusual for us to get two reports and then five reports of salmonella on the same day,” said Dr. Barbara Brookmeyer, Frederick Co. Health Officer.
Eventually eight cases would be traced back to a church in Thurmont, where a pancake breakfast was held and locally produced sausage was served.
According to the health department, that sausage was traced to the Mount Pleasant Ruritan Club where a rural gathering known as a butchering event was held Jan. 27.
Sausage went to the public and to the pancake breakfast.
“We know for sure that there was sausage from that butchering event that does show salmonella contamination,” Brookmeyer said. “What we don’t know is where did the salmonella come from?”
Hogs could have been carrying the bacteria. The USDA is investigating that. Lab tests are also searching for possible handling contamination from animal or human waste.
While experts look for how salmonella got into the sausage, the concern now is for people who bought sausage at the butchering event in January and still have it. That’s because even frozen salmonella still poses a risk.
“It poses a particular risk for people who are old or young or whose immune systems don’t work so well,” Brookmeyer said. “Our recommendation is that they discard it.”
It’s not worth a possible trip to the hospital.
In printed reports, the Mount Pleasant Ruritan Club says similar butchering events produced no signs of salmonella in November or February, and that all surfaces are thoroughly steam cleaned.