3/13/2006 9:00:00 PM
State and county officials continue to investigate a bacterial outbreak at New Richmond.
“The only thing we know is we had an outbreak,” Montgomery County Sanitarian Ron Posthauer said. “Nothing’s been confirmed yet. There may be evidence to point in certain directions but it’s not responsible to speculate.”
In February, the town of New Richmond suffered from an outbreak of campylobacteriosis. More than two cases is considered an outbreak, Posthauer said.
Campylobacteriosis is an infectious bacterial disease, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention Web site, www.cdc.gov. Symptoms of the infection include diarrhea, cramping, abdominal pain and fever within two to five days of being infected, the CDC Web site states. Symptoms typically last about a week.
According to the CDC, campylobacter affects more than 1 million persons in the United States each year, or 0.5 percent of the U.S. population. The bacterial infection is the most common bacterial cause of diarrhea and normally is not passed from person to person.
Currently, the Indiana State Health Department, Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) and Posthauer are investigating the New Richmond outbreak.
“The state health department is observing the outbreak itself,” Posthauer said. “IDEM is making sure all the rules were followed and I’m gathering their information with mine to make sure this doesn’t happen again. But there is a lot of information to look at that a lot of people don’t realize.”
Although campylobacteriosis usually occurs in sporadic cases, an outbreak is possible, according to the CDC. Most cases involve “handling raw poultry or eating raw or undercooked meat,” states the CDC.
The CDC recommends all persons infected with campylobacter drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.
“We are trying our best to get to the bottom of this,” New Richmond Town Council President Kathy Peevler said. “The case is still being investigated. I wish I had answers to give.”
Posthauer could not confirm the number of cases involved in the outbreak. The release of details concerning the outbreak are pending because of the investigation.
“Eventually, it’s all going to come out,” Posthauer said. “But until we know, it’s not responsible to say.”