Dozens Sick From Salmonella Outbreak At Fire Department Fundraiser

Posted at 6:41 PM, Sep 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-22 19:41:43-04

State health officials investigated a food poisoning outbreak that sickened potentially dozens of people in Middle Tennessee.

The salmonella illness emerged after fundraiser for a volunteer fire department in Rutherford county.

"Salmonella can be very serious and cause death in some people," said deputy state epidemiologist John Dunn. 

No one died, but several people got sick, some hospitalized.

"We know of a number of others -- 18 total so far and hearing of more and all attended the Lascassas Fire Department fish fry on September 10th," said Dunn.

More than 400 people attended the event at the station on Lascassas Pike. The meal included fried fish and chicken along with homemade white beans other sides an array of desserts.

Since then, many were sickened by salmonella and shared their experiences on Facebook.

One woman lost 15 pounds, another ended up in the hospital, and one was sick for over a week and still not 100 percent.

"When we hear about an outbreak we become more concerned to keep other people from becoming ill," said Dunn.

He said anyone who ate at the event and got sick with the telltale nausea and diarrhea should go to their doctor. Then they may hear from state investigators who want to know what they ate, but the cause of the salmonella outbreak still remained a mystery.

State officials said such outbreaks happen only three or four times a year and the fire officials are cooperating fully as they work to find the source of the illness.

This was the first time something like this has ever happened at a Lascassas Volunteer Fire fundraiser.

State officials said such outbreaks can happen anywhere -- by accident in food preparation or if meals arrive already contaminated.