Published On: Wed, Jun 19th, 2013

Campylobacter identified as cause of illness for food festival patrons

Westchester County Health Department officials say the cause of illness for several people attending an outdoor food festival was the bacterium, campylobacter, according to a press release Monday.

An unspecified number of illnesses among patrons of the the Burger and Beer Bash at the Kensico Dam in Valhalla on June 6 contracted the gastrointestinal illness, which was laboratory confirmed.

Campylobacter Image/CDC


Despite an ongoing investigation, health officials say since most attendees ate food from many of the 30 food vendors, it may not be possible to identify the exact source of the campylobacter.

 “Anyone who has not already become sick following this event should no longer be at risk,” said Health Commissioner Sherlita Amler, MD. “Anyone who continues to have symptoms should contact his or her physician and should not go to work or school until symptoms resolve.”

Symptoms of campylobacteriosis include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever. Most people with campylobacteriosis recover completely. Illness usually occurs 2 to 5 days after exposure to campylobacter and lasts about a week. The illness is usually mild and some people with campylobacteriosis have no symptoms at all.

However, in some persons with compromised immune systems, it can cause a serious, life-threatening infection. A small percentage of people may have joint pain and swelling after infection. In addition, a rare disease called Guillain-Barre syndrome that causes weakness and paralysis can occur several weeks after the initial illness.

Most cases of campylobacteriosis are associated with eating raw or undercooked poultry meat or from cross-contamination of other foods.

“As part of our response, the health department will send sanitarians to each of the food service establishments who participated in the festival to provide a refresher to restaurant staff about food safety, with special emphasis on safe off-site practices,” Amler said. “Sanitarians will also conduct a detailed food preparation review by observing as restaurant staffers prepare the foods they served at the June 6 event.”

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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  1. Campylobacter – the bad bug on chicken | Focus on food safety says:

    […] Campylobacter identified as cause of illness for food festival patrons (theglobaldispatch.com) […]

  2. Travels with Charlize-38 Vulnerability | docdavesvoice says:

    […] Campylobacter identified as cause of illness for food festival patrons (theglobaldispatch.com) […]

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