Buncombe County health officials warned that they expect the number of cases of salmonella infection to rise following the recent outbreak.
Officials said Wednesday that there are 38 reported cases, up from reports released Tuesday, and they expect another wave of the outbreak soon.
Communicable disease investigators said that person-to-person transmission is increasing as someone who has the illness spreads it to someone else - rather than from a food source.
According to officials, people with salmonella paratyphi B are given very specific instructions to prevent further spread of the disease, which includes restrictions on preparing food for others and proper hand washing.
People who work with food, childcare centers or healthcare are excluded from work until lab tests confirm they are no longer contagious, which is sometimes weeks after they quit having diarrhea, officials said.
Officials urge the public to continue taking additional precautions like cooking foods fully, seeking medical care if they have symptoms and following the Department of Agriculture's recommendations to discard the recalled tempeh.
Symptoms commonly associated with this infection may include diarrhea that may be bloody, high fever, headache and abdominal pain.
Health officials first alerted the public to the outbreak on April 27 when 27 illness cases had been reported. Earlier this week, that number had risen to 37.
On Monday, soybean cake manufacturer Smiling Hara made at Asheville's Blue Food Ventures recalled tempeh for possible salmonella contamination.
Buncombe County health officials said Tuesday that while they continue to investigate the outbreak, those who have been infected thus far did not all eat the contaminated tempeh. They said they cannot assure people that if they stay away from the tempeh that they won't get sick, but they appreciated the precautionary measures taken by Smiling Hara.
Salmonella is a family of bacteria, but the strain at the center of this outbreak is found in the intestines of humans, officials said. They said it can be spread from person to person or by eating food or drinking water contaminated with feces of an infected person.
For further information on the outbreak, symptoms, treatment and contacting officials, visit www.buncombecounty.org or call the hotline at 828-250-5109.
The public is encouraged to call the Communicable Disease nurses to report symptoms of salmonella contamination at 828-250-5109.
Copyright 2012 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Friday, May 24 2013 11:19 PM EDT2013-05-25 03:19:38 GMT
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