Restaurant sued after staph intoxication linked to death

72-year old David Maupin, right, passed away after contracting Staphylococcus aureus intoxication from an Easter dinner he ate at a Louisville restaurant, according to Wave 33 TV.

On March 23, 2008, Maupin, his wife, brother, and sister-in-law all ate Easter Dinner at the Claudia Sanders Dinner House. Two days later he died.

The restaurant was closed for three days. After an investigation by the North Central Public Health Department, it was determined that hams being served that day were contaminated with the Staphylococcus aureus. Toxins produced when the bacteria grows causes food poisoning, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Bob Silverthorn, Jr., the Maupin family’s Attornery, said,

"[Y]ou just don’t expect to go to your Easter Dinner or whatever and then the next couple of days somebody is gone because of something they ate. “

He continued,

“You know when you do an autopsy, stool sample, death certificate, FDA examination of food products, it all ties this together. I think [the restaurant] is going to have a very difficult time in light of all the scientific data that we have and will be presenting."

Food handlers are usually the main source of food contamination in outbreaks, however equipment and environmental surfaces can also be sources of contamination with Staphylococcus aureus.

Often foods that are not kept at proper temperatures, not kept hot enough (60°C, 140°F, or above) or cold enough (7.2°C, 45°F, or below), provide a good environment for certain strains of Staphylococcus aureus to produce enterotoxins, which in turn cause intoxication if this food is ingested by humans.

The most common symptoms of staphylococcal food poisoning include nausea, vomiting and abdominal cramps. The onset of symptoms is rapid, and usually runs a short course, however on rare occasions death from staphylococcal food poisoning has occurred.