The Buncombe County Department of Health (BCDOH) is currently investigating an outbreak of Salmonella Paratyphi B infection in Buncombe County.

Communicable Disease Nurses and Environmental Health Specialists are conducting interviews with people who currently have or have had the infection, reviewing laboratory reports and inspecting food sources that may be linked to the outbreak.

Communicable disease experts from the NC Division of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as food specialists from the NC Department of Agriculture are assisting with the investigations. As of this morning, 27 possible cases have been identified and the source of contamination has not yet been confirmed.

All cases appear to have been associated with residence or travel to Buncombe County since February 28, 2012. Any reports of possible additional cases are immediately placed under investigation to verify whether the case may be linked to this outbreak.

Currently, BCDOH is working with all known infected individuals and is implementing control measures to further prevent transmission of the disease. Businesses and infected individuals are cooperating with local health officials to aid in investigation and control of the outbreak.

A Hotline will be operational after 1:00 p.m. today to offer people a way to call for accurate information about this outbreak. The Hotline 828.250.5300 will have an automated message and a phone number for people with symptoms to talk with a Communicable Disease Nurse. Information is also available on the website.