Eastern Shore Health Officials Report Results from the Chincoteague Chili Chowder Cook Off Salmonella Investigation

October 24, 2017

  • For More Information, Contact Eastern Region
    Public Information Officer Larry Hill: 757-683-9175

(Accomac, Va.) –The Accomack County Health Department and the Foodborne Disease Epidemiology Team from the Virginia Department of Health continue to investigate a Salmonella outbreak following the Chincoteague Chili Chowder Cook Off held Saturday, September. 30, 2017. The Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services (DCLS) in Richmond, Virginia, first identified Salmonella javiana in human specimens that were submitted by healthcare providers and health officials from event attendees who reported gastro-intestinal illness. Now, DCLS has identified Salmonella javiana in a sample of Crab Shack Clam Chowder that was obtained from an attendee served during the event, consistent with the exposure results of the online attendee survey. Approximately 500 survey responses, from both ill and non-ill attendees, were recorded in 18 days.

Accomack County health officials are addressing issues that may have contributed to the outbreak by engaging event sponsors and vendors. The laboratory analysis continues, as does analysis of the survey results. A final Epidemiologic Field Report will be drafted locally within 30 days and be available then to interested parties. Health officials will continue to assemble reports from Virginia and as many as nine other states where event attendees reside. However, the online attendee survey tool has been closed.

The following information is provisional and subject to change: The Accomack County Health Department has received 180 reports of illness to date. Approximately half (50%) of those reported ill sought medical care, with 20% (36) receiving Emergency Room care and 10% (18) having been hospitalized for one or more nights. No deaths have been reported with this outbreak.

Health officials would like to acknowledge the event sponsor, the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company and its event coordinator, as well as all of the food vendors who participated in the event, for their cooperation and assistance in the investigation.

Additionally, local healthcare partners from Eastern Shore Rural Health and Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital, regional healthcare partners at Peninsula Regional Medical Center, Your Docs In of Pocomoke, Atlantic General Hospital, Worcester County Health Department, Wicomico County Health Department, Maryland State Laboratory and many others from other states have assisted greatly in the epidemiological investigation and specimen collection.