Clostridium perfringens in chicken salad kills 3, sickens 40

In a return to the I-like-Ike 1950s, chicken salad contaminated with Clostridium perfringens was confirmed as killing three and sickening more than 40 at Central Louisiana State Hospital in Pineville.

Dr. David Holcombe, medical director for Region 6 of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals’ Office of Public Health, said C. perfringens is a naturally occurring organism, but it can spread to unsafe levels with improper food storage and handling.

The bacteria form spores that spread through food that has not been properly stored and become hard to completely cook away, Holcombe said, and they begin producing a toxin that makes people sick once they enter the lower intestine.