Casserole to Blame for Sickening 200 Prison Inmates
A casserole has been identified as the source of a food poisoning outbreak that sickened 200 inmates in a Wisconsin jail. The CDC identified the bacterium to be Clostridium perfringens, which may remain in foods even after cooking - though it will multiply rapidly if leftovers are not cooled and stored properly.
Abdominal cramps and diarrhea will usually result within 6-24 hours after infection.
In the jail outbreak, a casserole made from leftover ground beef and macaroni was found to harbor C. perfringens bacteria. The leftovers may not have been cooled properly for storage or reheated adequately, health officials report in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
C. perfringens causes about 250,000 cases of diarrheal illness in the U.S. each year, according to the CDC. It is particularly common in institutional settings, where large amounts of food are typically prepared hours before serving.