Source of salmonella outbreak at Fayetteville hotel identified
Posted July 23, 2013
Fayetteville, N.C. — Cumberland County health authorities confirmed Tuesday that the All American Sports Bar & Grill at the Holiday Inn Bordeaux in Fayetteville was the source of a salmonella outbreak that sickened 100 people in May.
A particular food item could not be singled out, authorities said, but some employees continued to work there while ill and may have contributed to cross-contamination.
“With this and any other public health investigation, our goal is to identify action steps and safety measures that will stop the spread of illness and prevent this kind of event from happening again,” Cumberland County Public Health Director Buck Wilson said in a statement. “This investigation was a real team effort by county and state environmental and communicable disease staff, as well as Holiday Inn Bordeaux management.”
The state and county divisions of public health began an investigation May 13 after two people who ate at the hotel were diagnosed with the bacterial infection, which is transmitted through contaminated food or water or contact with an infected animal or person, and can cause severe gastrointestinal distress.
The Cumberland County Health Department also alerted the public and asked anyone who may have gotten sick from eating at the hotel’s two restaurants or banquet facilities to contact officials. The hotel management cooperated with the investigation.
A total of 100 cases were identified, with 25 confirmed and 75 listed as probable. Hotel staff accounted for 29 cases, according to a report released Tuesday.
The investigation found the strain of salmonella was “unique to the state” during the outbreak, and contamination was limited to the hotel restaurant.
The health department conducted daily site visits to the hotel restaurants during the outbreak, and investigators noted multiple opportunities for salmonella contamination, including the absence of hand-washing supplies and water that was too cold to kill bacteria, according to the report. They also found employees touching ready-to-eat food and a malfunctioning dishwasher.
Since the outbreak, the health department has conducted food-safety training for the restaurant employees. A call to the hotel manager Tuesday was not immediately returned.
At least three people who contracted salmonella have filed lawsuits seeking damages from Aroma Hotels LLC, which operates the Holiday Inn Bordeaux. Lacey Townsend, a 27-year-old plaintiff, told WRAL News in June that her meal at the hotel sent her to the hospital twice.
“I have given birth to two children, and the pain that sent me to the hospital the second time was worse than any labor that I have ever been in,” she had said.