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Health Department Investigating Possible Food Poisoning

Twenty-eight individuals are recovering, after experiencing nausea, vomiting and lethargic behavior following a lunch at Calvary Baptist Church. Early indicators were that they were suffering from food poisoning.

The vague description of “chicken and rice, green beans and a brownie” is all we were able to determine that those affected ate on Tuesday. Other than that, everyone is still waiting for test results.

First, an incident, then an investigation, except this time, the culprit just might be microbial. However, before that is determined, the Health Department will investigate all possibilities.

Administrator of the Houston County Health Department Peggy Blakeney said, "We cannot confirm conclusively what is going on or what happened, whether it is a food borne illness or viral or what it is until we get our test results back."

However, if the cause of the problem is food poisoning, odds are in favor that the particular criminal in this instance is a bacterium known as campylobacter. It’s the most common cause of diarrheal illness in the world.

We visited a local physician on Wednesday to learn more.

Dr. Edwin Morriss III, with Southern Clinic P.C. said, "The usual agents that cause that are campylobacter salmonella and e-coli strain 157, or food contamination. It doesn't require medication to be treated."

Dr. Morriss says symptoms should resolve themselves within a day or two, but if they don't, try to find a physician.

Health Department officials say while this incident was bad, it's not that uncommon.

"It's more frequent than the public realizes because a lot of the things that do occur do not make the news, and some of them are resolved," Blakeney concluded.

Church officials News 4 spoke to weren't sure how the food was prepared, where it exactly came from; State Health Department officials hope to find out if the food had anything to do with it because there's still the possibility that the food wasn't the problem.

Health Department officials say they should have the results from the tests on the samples within 48 hours.


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