I took a little heat in comments for my post on December 10 titled “Corinth restaurant, Don Julio’s, closed amidst Salmonella Outbreak.” It looks like the epidemiological evidence pretty clearly implicates the restaurant, however, in the Corinth Salmonella outbreak, based on today’s statement by the Mississippi State Department of Health:
As of today, a total of 59 patrons and employees of Don Julio Mexican Restaurant, 1901 Virginia Lane in Corinth, have had positive cultures confirming the presence of salmonella.
“Our investigation has shown that the incident does not appear to be a food producer or supplier issue,” said Northeast Mississippi District Health Officer Dr. Jessie R. Taylor. “It appears to be an isolated problem with this particular restaurant, and the restaurant is working closely with us to correct the problem.”
The restaurant will remain closed until an improvement plan is approved by the MSDH.
In response to the comments to my earlier post, it is a valid bit of evidence to consider whether there are people with matching Salmonella illnesses who did not eat at Don Julio’s at all. In the context of an outbreak such as this, however, it would be expected to have multiple secondary cases–i.e. people who became ill from contact with a person who was infected at the restaurant. Further, in almost every outbreak, no matter the strength of the epidemiological proof, there are outliers–folks who just didn’t have a documented exposure to the contaminated food. Too many of them, and maybe it wasn’t the implicated food. Here, however, it looks like the Mississippi State Department of Health is on solid footing in identifying Don Julio’s as the cause of this very large Salmonella outbreak.