In the wake of a Salmonella outbreak linked to Corinth, Mississippi-based Don Julio Mexican Restaurant, foodborne illness attorney and food safety expert William Marler is warning consumers in the area of the dangers associated with a Salmonella illness.

“Most people think Salmonella is just a tummy ache and a few hours of discomfort, but the reality can be much worse,” said Marler. “In both the short-term and long-term, victims may experience a number of debilitating or even lethal consequences.”

Typically derived from ingesting a contaminated food product, Salmonella infections are the second most common foodborne illness in the United States.  A person with a Salmonella infection usually exhibits symptoms including abdominal cramps, fever of 100-102 F, headache, muscle pain, and diarrhea that may contain blood.  Victims of Salmonella outbreaks may develop long-term complications such as irritable bowel syndrome or reactive arthritis, which can both be debilitating.  Salmonella also accounts for 31% of all foodborne illness outbreak-related deaths.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in any given Salmonella outbreak the number of actual victims may be as many as 38.5 times the number of stool-confirmed individuals (59 according to the Mississippi Health Department), which means as many as 2,271 people could have become ill in the Don Julio outbreak.

“Though 2,000 ill in a town the size of Corinth is not likely, the vast undercount that is typical of a Salmonella outbreak indicates there were probably many sickened in this outbreak.” Added Marler, “Many of us tough it out when we become ill, but the long term effects of a foodborne illness should not be taken lightly.”