Melbourne’s prestigious Langham Hotel is disinfecting its kitchens after six people were hospitalised and and at least 28 others struck down by a salmonella outbreak after attending High Tea.
Health authorities probing the outbreak have traced 66 people who attended the Langham’s luxury afternoon teas on July 11 and 12, Melbourne’s Sun Herald reported.
Victoria’s Department of Health confirmed that six of the most serious cases had to attend hospital.
City of Melbourne council health officers have inspected the hotel. Full sanitising of the kitchen is taking place and the hotel is reported to be sourcing produce from alternative suppliers.
“Eating undercooked poultry or undercooked eggs may lead to a person getting salmonellosis. Symptoms of salmonellosis include diarrhoea (which may contain blood or mucous), fever, headache, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting and dehydration. Antibiotics are not usually required.”
Symptoms of salmonellosis usually occur between six to 72 hours after victims ingest the bacteria. The most common symptoms include:
- diarrhoea, which may contain blood or mucous
- stomach cramps
- dehydration, especially among infants and the elderly.
Salmonellosis occurs when Salmonella bacteria are taken in by mouth. The Health Channel says this may happen in any of the following ways:
- Eating undercooked meat, especially poultry, and raw or undercooked eggs
- Eating cooked or ready-to-eat food that has been contaminated with Salmonella bacteria from raw food, such as raw chicken. This is called cross-contamination and can also happen when food comes into contact with contaminated kitchen surfaces, such as chopping boards and utensils that have been used for raw food
- If people with salmonellosis have Salmonella bacteria in their faeces and do not wash their hands properly after going to the toilet, their contaminated hands can spread the bacteria to surfaces and objects that may be touched by others, or food that will be eaten by others. Hands can also become contaminated when changing the nappy of an infected infant
- Pets and farm animals who may have Salmonella bacteria in their faeces without having any symptoms. People can get salmonellosis from these animals if they do not wash their hands after handling them.
“Food-borne outbreaks of salmonellosis do occur,” the Health Channel notes, “and tracing the source is an important public health responsibility.”
To prevent salmonellosis, people are advised to:
- Thoroughly cook food derived from animal products – especially poultry, pork, eggs and meat dishes.
- Don’t use dirty or cracked eggs.
- Keep your kitchen clean. Raw foods can contaminate surfaces.
- Store raw and cooked foods separately.
- Wash hands thoroughly with soap and hot running water for 10 seconds before handling food.
- Store high risk foods at or below 5°C or at or above 60°C to prevent growth of bacteria.
- Do not handle cooked foods with the same utensils used for raw foods, unless they have been thoroughly washed between use.
Edited by William Sykes