March 8, 2013

Temazcal linked to salmonella outbreak, experts say

James Bright, Managing Editor,
The Express-Star

CHICKASHA — The Oklahoma State Health Department concluded an investigation today that linked Temazcal restaurant  with an outbreak of six salmonella cases in Grady County over the last two months.

"Our findings were that Temazcal was most likely the source of this salmonella outbreak," Dr. Laurie Smithee, chief of acute disease for the Oklahoma State Health Department said.

This information came after Temazcal voluntarily closed March 4, when a routine investigation by the health department discovered the restaurant's walk in-cooler was not working properly.

Smithee said the information is based on a statistical study done by the health department so there is an extremely small chance Temazcal is not the source of the outbreak.

"We know that all six cases were confirmed to have the identical salmonella organism through our case and controlled study," she said.

The organism found was Salmonella Enteriditis.

At the moment, Temazcal is working with the health department's sanitarian to bring their restaurant up to code.

"We are educating them on problem areas and how to correct those," Smithee said.

The restaurant is also working to reopen according to Smithee.

Routine surveillance by the health department found an increased number of viral stomach problems as well, said Smithee, but there is no evidence that increase is related to Temazcal.

More on this story as it develops.