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Salmonella outbreak sickens Old Country Buffet diners

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A boy was hospitalized and at least 22 other people were sickened by salmonella after eating at the Old Country Buffet in Maple Grove last month.

The Business Journal reports the outbreak is being investigated by the Minnesota Health Department and Hennepin County agencies. The story said that of those sickened, 11 tested positive for Salmonella Enteritidis, a common type of the bacteria that is linked to undercooked eggs and poultry.

Food Poisoning Bulletin, which first reported the outbreak, said a specific food source has not been identified.

Attorney Ryan Osterholm is representing a family of diners who were sickened, including a child. He is part of a team of lawyers at PritzkerOlsen, a Minneapolis law firm with a national practice representing food poisoning victims.

The state will use DNA to compare the bacteria to other outbreaks, Osterholm said. Tests on stool samples from stricken patients will identify the “genetic fingerprint” of the bacteria.

Salmonella infections occur when people eat food contaminated with microscopic amounts of fecal matter. Symptoms, which include fever, abdominal cramps and diarrhea, usually develop between six and 72 hours after exposure and last up to a week. Exposure can be severe enough to require hospitalization, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The outbreak may have been related to food handling or preparation at the Maple Grove site or involve bacteria contamination of nationally distributed food that hasn't been detected by other states.

The story recommends a doctor's visit for anyone who ate at the Old Country Buffet in Maple Grove and has these symptoms.

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