Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 3.33.59 PMThe Davidson County Health Department and Davie County Health Department are working with the N.C. Division of Public Health to investigate a gastrointestinal illness outbreak among patrons of Tarheel Q Restaurant, located on Highway 64 in Lexington, North Carolina.

As of Tuesday, June 23, 2015 the Health Departments have identified over 30 individuals with signs and symptoms consistent with salmonellosis: diarrhea, stomach pain, fever, nausea, and sometimes vomiting. All ate at the same food establishment, Tarheel Q, several days before becoming ill. At least seven of the identified individuals have been hospitalized due to their illness.

“We are still investigating to determine the source (or sources) of infection. We are also actively working with restaurant management to resolve this as soon as possible,” said Davidson County Health Department Director Monecia Thomas. “We would like to thank the restaurant for their cooperation. The restaurant has been diligent and responsive during this process and we appreciate their commitment to the safety of their customers.”

The Health Department is asking anyone who became ill with diarrhea within four days after they ate food or drank beverages from Tarheel Q (6835 West US Hwy 64, Lexington, NC) on or after Saturday, June 6th to call the Davidson County Health Department at 336-236-3096. The Davidson County Health Department is opening a hotline for calls. Please call today, Tuesday June 23 until 7:30PM and then between the hours of 8:00AM-5:00PM for the remainder of the work week. Collecting this information is important to help officials determine the size and impact of the outbreak.

“We want these persons to call the health department even if they have recovered so we can ask them questions related to their food history in hopes of identifying the source of the contamination,” Thomas said.
At this time, the restaurant has not been required by the state or local health department to close. To stop further spread of the illness, the Health Department has instructed the restaurant to implement specific control measures to ensure food temperatures are monitored and recorded prior to service. Likewise, when preparing food at home please remember that meats and eggs should be thoroughly cooked before eating, only consume dairy products that have been pasteurized, keep raw meat, cooked meat, and vegetables separate, and thoroughly wash hands after dealing with animals, before eating or preparing foods for others, and after using the restroom.

Food purchased from the restaurant and taken home between June 6-19, 2015 should not be consumed by people or animals. Please discard any leftovers.

Persons who are ill or experiencing symptoms should drink sufficient fluids to stay well hydrated, and should seek medical care from their private doctor, urgent care or emergency room if their diarrhea and/or vomiting don’t improve.

SALMONELLOSIS (commonly called “Salmonella infection”) is an infection caused by bacteria called Salmonella. It is transmitted by food, water, or surfaces that have been contaminated with the feces of an infected animal or person. Many animals carry Salmonella and it doesn’t make them sick. It can commonly be isolated from poultry, egg and milk products, which is why thorough cooking and pasteurization is needed. It is commonly transmitted via the fecal-oral route, from one infected person to another. Symptoms may be mild and a person can continue to carry Salmonella for weeks after symptoms have stopped.
Most persons infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea (sometimes bloody), fever, and stomach pain 6 to 72 hours after infection.

– The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most persons recover without treatment. However, in some persons, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. In some cases, the person must be treated with antibiotics.
– Salmonellosis affects all age groups. Children are the most likely to get salmonellosis. Groups at greatest risk for severe or complicated disease include infants, the elderly, and persons with compromised immune systems.
– Salmonellosis is more common in the summer than winter.
– There is no vaccine to prevent salmonellosis.
– The best ways to prevent the spread of this illness is to avoid preparing food for others while ill, thoroughly cook meat and egg products, and perform thorough hand washing, especially after using the bathroom and before handling or preparing food.