For Immediate Release
November 10, 2010

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

KDHE and Cowley County Health Department Investigating
Outbreak of Gastrointestinal Illness
Associated with a Church Turkey Dinner

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and City-Cowley County Health Department, with assistance from the Kansas Department of Agriculture and the cooperation of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Arkansas City, are conducting an investigation of a possible foodborne illness outbreak associated with the Sacred Heart Turkey Dinner that was held on the evening of November 8. 

Since November 8, at least 22 individuals have reported becoming ill; symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and cramping.  Follow-up investigations are ongoing, but preliminary information suggests that the illnesses among these individuals are associated with attendance at or consumption of food from the turkey dinner.  No other common links have yet been identified.

At this time, no specific foods have been identified as the potential source of illnesses.  As a precaution, KDHE is recommending that NO food that was prepared for this dinner is consumed.  Any food left over from the event should be discarded to reduce the potential of further illness.

To aid in the investigation and potentially identify the source of the outbreak, KDHE is conducting an online survey that can be accessed at: 

KDHE is requesting that everyone who attended the dinner or consumed food that was prepared for the event complete this questionnaire, including persons who have not become ill.  Participation is voluntary, and all information will be kept confidential.

While most symptoms associated with foodborne illness are self-limiting and improve within 24-48 hours, severe disease can occur.  If you are suffering from symptoms like those described above, please contact your physician, and seek medical attention if necessary.  If you know of anyone who attended or ate food from this event please tell them about the investigation.

If you have any questions or need assistance in completing this survey please contact City-Cowley County Health Department at 620-221-1430 or KDHE epidemiology hotline at 877-427-7317.