Did one pot of jambalaya make hundreds of people sick in north Louisiana?


Louisiana health officials say a second bacterium apparently contributed to the mass food poisoning that may have killed one person and apparently sickened more than 100 people who ate at a fundraiser.

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CALDWELL PARISH, La. — The state Department of Health and Hospitals says a jambalaya fundraiser is likely the source of a mass salmonella outbreak in north Louisiana.

The Monroe-News Star reports that possibly hundreds of people were sickened — and one man’s death is possibly linked to the outbreak.

It happened in the tiny town of Columbia, Louisiana, where the mayor estimates about 200 people got sick. City Data lists the town’s population as approximately 380 people.

In a town that size, “everybody knows somebody who’s sick.”

The jambalaya was sold for a high school softball team fundraiser.

Duane Reitzell, 56, died this week, possibly as a result of the salmonella poisoning, the newspaper reports.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 380 people die each year of salmonella poisoning. Here are some tips from the CDC on how to prevent it:

  • Cook poultry, ground beef, and eggs thoroughly. Do not eat or drink foods containing raw eggs, or raw (unpasteurized) milk.
  • If you are served undercooked meat, poultry or eggs in a restaurant, don’t hesitate to send it back to the kitchen for further cooking.
  • Wash hands, kitchen work surfaces, and utensils with soap and water immediately after they have been in contact with raw meat or poultry.
  • Be particularly careful with foods prepared for infants, the elderly, and the immunocompromised.
  • Wash hands with soap after handling reptiles, birds, or baby chicks, and after contact with pet feces.
  • Avoid direct or even indirect contact between reptiles (turtles, iguanas, other lizards, snakes) and infants or immunocompromised persons.
  • Don’t work with raw poultry or meat, and an infant (e.g., feed, change diaper) at the same time.
  • Mother’s milk is the safest food for young infants. Breastfeeding prevents salmonellosis and many other health problems.


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