Outbreak of foodborne illness strikes Atlanta high school football banquet

Over 15 years ago Rob Tauxe described the traditional foodborne illness outbreak as a scenario that ‘often follows a church supper, family picnic, wedding reception, or other social event.’
This scenario involves an acute and highly local outbreak, with a high inoculum dose and a high attack rate. The outbreak is typically immediately apparent to those in the local group, who promptly involve medical and public health authorities. The investigation identifies a food-handling error in a small kitchen that occurs shortly before consumption. The solution is also local.football-banquet-2013
According to the Atlanta Journal Contsitution, it could also be a high school football banquet.
Dozens of Centennial High School football players and their parents were sickened after eating at a banquet Monday night, according to the school’s principal. But the exact cause of the gastrointestinal illnesses has not been determined.
Symptoms of the illness have included nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal cramps, Principal Kibbey Crumbley wrote in a letter to a parents of students at the Roswell school.
“Unfortunately, these symptoms can be associated with many different viruses and bacteria that could possibly be related to food-borne pathogens,” Crumbley said. “The best means of controlling these types of illnesses is to stay home when sick, wash hands frequently and clean surfaces thoroughly after contact with an infected or ill individual.”
Students with symptoms were urged to stay home and to see a healthcare provider, Crumbley said.
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About Ben Chapman

Dr. Ben Chapman is a professor and food safety extension specialist at North Carolina State University. As a teenager, a Saturday afternoon viewing of the classic cable movie, Outbreak, sparked his interest in pathogens and public health. With the goal of less foodborne illness, his group designs, implements, and evaluates food safety strategies, messages, and media from farm-to-fork. Through reality-based research, Chapman investigates behaviors and creates interventions aimed at amateur and professional food handlers, managers, and organizational decision-makers; the gate keepers of safe food. Ben co-hosts a biweekly podcast called Food Safety Talk and tries to further engage folks online through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and, maybe not surprisingly, Pinterest. Follow on Twitter @benjaminchapman.