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Outbreak News

State Health Department Trying To Head Off Salmonella Outbreak

The State Health department is trying to head off a Salmonella outbreak. In recent days, dozens of people in southern Marion and northern Johnson Counties have suffered through painful illnesses.

Julie Ellis' has a new routine. She's taking a month's worth of pills to help her body heal from a bad bout with a brutal bacteria.

"I have to take nine of these a day," Ellis said of the pills she's taking to combat her abdominal cramps, fever, intense diarrhea.

Ellis and her daughter are among at least 56 people in central Indiana made sick by Salmonella.

The State Health department says it normally sees a few cases a year. "But we are seeing quite a dramatic increase," Lynae Granzow with the State Health department said.

Granzow is leading a formal investigation, "We are looking at many different sources in the Greenwood area."

Granzow won't speculate on a specific source but there are many possibilities.

In the past, everything from ice cream to iguanas have been blamed for outbreaks.

Ellis is convinced her case came from groceries. She'll get the chance to share that theory with the health department as it interviews victims.

"Very intense questioning as far as where have I eaten. What time was it, what day was it, what did I have to eat," Ellis said.

"The next step, after the source, would be to go to the source and see how we can prevent any further illnesses," Granzow said.

An awful week has Ellis changing her routines. From now on, she'll make sure her food is as squeaky clean as her dishes and she'll demand others do the same.

"Be skeptical when you go out to eat, and make sure your foods are being handled in the proper way," Ellis said.

Experts offer these tips to keep your family safe: rinse and scrub produce, cook meat, eggs, and unpasteurized dairy products and wash hands faithfully.

More on this outbreak: Wal-Mart Salmonella Outbreak (Indiana, 2006)

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