Salmonella sickens Maple Grove restaurant-goers

A group of people were sickened with salmonella after eating at the Old Country Buffet in Maple Grove recently.

The Minnesota Department of Health and Hennepin County are investigating an outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis among people who ate at Old Country Buffet in Maple Grove in late January. As of Tuesday, Feb. 25, there were 26 identified cases associated with the outbreak, 13 are culture-confirmed (tested positive for Salmonella Enteritidis in the lab), with a broad age range.

“One case was hospitalized, but has been released,” said Doug Schultz, Communications with the Minnesota Department of Health. “The investigation is ongoing. We have not yet identified a specific food item or items that may be the source for the infections.”

There is no evidence of ongoing transmission of the disease.

Following a standard outbreak-response inspection, the restaurant was cleared by Hennepin County Environmental Health to remain open.

According to the Minnesota Department of Health, approximately 40,000 cases of salmonellosis are reported in the United States. Approximately 600 to 700 cases of salmonellosis are reported each year in Minnesota.

Salmonella is a bacterium that causes a diarrheal illness called salmonellosis. Symptoms include diarrhea, stomach cramps, abdominal pain, and fever. Sometimes people infected with salmonella have no symptoms at all. Symptoms usually begin 12 to 72 hours after being exposed to the bacteria and last for 4 to 7 days. Treatment may be available from a health care provider. People with mild symptoms usually recover on their own without treatment.

The Minnesota Department of Health also states people can become infected by eating foods such as beef, poultry, unpasteurized milk, eggs and vegetables contaminated with bacteria. People can also be infected by not washing hands after using the bathroom or changing diapers and then eating foods.

Prevent salmonellosis by not eating raw or undercooked eggs, poultry or meat. Prevent cross-contamination by washing hands, cutting boards, countertops, knives and utensils when handling raw foods. Also, wash your hands for 20 second with warm, soapy water after: using the bathroom, changing diapers, touching animals, before eating and before preparing food.