Firefly salmonella outbreak nears 300, chorizo sausage likely source

The number of cases in the salmonella outbreak associated with a popular Las Vegas off-strip restaurant has increased significantly since the last report from Southern Nevada Health District epidemiologists two weeks ago.

According to an Epidemiology investigation report Wednesday, as of May 20, at least 290 patrons and 4 employees who consumed food and/or drinks at Firefly on Paradise Tapas restaurant during April 21-26, 2013 have been identified to be confirmed or probable cases of Salmonella infection. This is up from 200 cases on May 10.

Firefly on Paradise tapas restaurant Image/Video Screen Shot

Firefly on Paradise tapas restaurant
Image/Video Screen Shot

Health officials also report that one food item, chorizo ( a type of sausage) tested positive for Salmonella. Laboratory confirmation using Culture and pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE)-pattern results of the Salmonella isolate obtained from the cooked chorizo matched those of the outbreak strain.

The chorizo arrived at the restaurant uncooked and was cooked on site. No raw chorizo was available for testing. The chorizo was one of the foods identified in an earlier report as being a likely   source of the outbreak and was tested for the bacteria.

Epidemiologist, Dr. Linh Nguyen, wrote in the discussion of the investigation, “It is likely that the outbreak was due to local cross-contamination in the restaurant’s kitchen and not from a contaminated commercial food.”

In addition, Nguyen notes that there are no concurrent cases of salmonellosis having a PFGE pattern matching the outbreak strain (Salmonella serotype I:4,5,12:i-) have been identified in the U.S. other than those linked to the Firefly on Paradise restaurant.

Health officials say the rate of cases have declined significantly with no evidence of any disease transmission after the closure of the restaurant on April 26, 2013. It is possible that the number of cases will change slightly over the next weeks as the last laboratory results arrive that either identify new confirmed cases, or eliminate probable cases from our count should they fail to have PFGE patterns matching the outbreak strain.

In a Vegas Inc report yesterday, Firefly owner John Simmons thanked the Health District for its thorough review in a statement:

“From day one, our concern has always been doing everything we could for those affected and doing everything we could to use this time to make Firefly the safest place to eat in southern Nevada,” he said. ” While we are anxious to have the final report and a better idea of what may have happened, for me, it was never about the source — it was about making sure I did everything in my power to prevent this from happening again.”

Simmons said Firefly has hired a food-safety consultant to “double and triple check our methods and we’ll operate in the mode of continuous improvement, constantly upgrading our practices with new technology, new methods, and additional training.”

The SNHD continues to work with the Firefly management to implement all corrective actions required for reopening the




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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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