For Immediate Release
November 16, 2010

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

Gastrointestinal Illness Investigation Continues

Public who attended encouraged to complete survey

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 continuing to conduct an investigation of a possible foodborne illness outbreak associated with the Sacred Heart Turkey Dinner that was held on the evening of November 8. The agencies request the public’s help in completing a survey to identify the source of the outbreak.

KDHE is conducting a survey at: People may also contact KDHE or the City-Cowley County Health Department for assistance in completing the survey. To date, about 25 percent of the 1,800-plus people estimated to be in attendance have responded to the survey or contacted the health department. 

“It’s really important that everyone who attended the dinner or consumed food prepared for the event complete this survey or contact the health department,” said Dr. Jason Eberhart-Phillips, Kansas State Health Officer and Director of KDHE’s Division of Health. “Regardless of whether you’ve become sick, the information you provide will help us better understand what may have caused this gastrointestinal outbreak.”

Since November 8, at least 159 individuals have reported becoming ill, with one hospitalization. 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. 

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.