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Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Portland Open Source Bridge Conference

Friday, July 17, 2015


Multnomah County health officials are investigating a laboratory-confirmed cluster of Salmonella infections linked to an Open Source Bridge Conference at the Eliot Center in downtown Portland from June 23 to 26. 

The Health Department has tallied 53 participants from the event who became ill, nine of which are laboratory-confirmed cases of salmonella, and is working to identify the source. 

The investigation includes determining the cause from about 100 different food dishes prepared through multiple catering sources and served over a four-day period to about 500 people, according to the Multnomah County Health Department.

“We believe this was an isolated event that did not occur beyond the conference,’’ said Deputy Health Officer Dr. Jennifer Vines. “We are monitoring illness in Oregon to assure that this is the case.” Other states and the Centers for Disease Control have also been informed.

Conference organizers are working with health officials to identify ill people and what they ate in the days before becoming sick. The public health investigation includes collecting survey information from 223 conference participants, and conducting laboratory testing of Salmonella from people affected.

Salmonella is a bacteria that causes people to develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps. Most people start getting sick one to three days after infection, though that can vary from 12 hours to 7 days, according to the health department. It is common for people to be ill for four to seven days, and recover without treatment. The elderly, infants and people with an impaired immune system are more likely to have a severe illness.

Large outbreaks of Salmonellosis have been linked to produce like bean sprouts and cantaloupes, and to poultry and poultry products. As with all foodborne illnesses, outbreaks can also occur when there are breaches in good food-handling practices.

Because there are many causes of gastrointestinal illness, the Multnomah County Health Department recommends anyone feeling sick to seek care from their health care provider who can diagnose the cause and give appropriate treatment.


Related Slideshow: 7 Best Natural Solutions for Heartburn

The real cause of that burning gnawing pain in your chest and esophagus — heartburn — is not too much acid in your stomach. In fact, the vast majority of you have too little stomach acid. Yes, you read that correctly.

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1. Chew your food. This is one of the best kept secrets of weight loss, and it also helps resolve low stomach acid issues. First of all, you’ll eat slower, which means you’ll actually enjoy your food more and eat less. This puts less burden on your valve. The added benefit is that thinking about your food, savoring it, and chewing it well stimulates higher stomach acid production. In turn this will help your food break down better and you’ll absorb more nutrients. All in all, chewing well is an easy and cheap way to better health.

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2. Do not eat late at night. This is about transit time. The lower your stomach acid, the longer it takes you to breakdown food, which is why people with heartburn often experience worse symptoms when they lie down after eating. If your stomach is functioning at optimal levels it takes 6 hours for the contents of your stomach to empty, so imagine how long this could take if you have low stomach acid. Give your body a break and give yourself a few hours after eating before trying to sleep.

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3. Decrease caffeine and sugar if you have heartburn symptoms. These are known to weaken your esophageal sphincter, so lay off while you are treating the problem or you will be fighting a losing battle. The same goes for smoking (which you should have quit long ago — if you need tips see this article. And if you are eating them in excess, avoid chocolate, citrus, tomatoes, onions, peppers, and peppermint temporarily as these are all known to increase heartburn symptoms.

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4. Drink vinegar. Drinking vinegars are all the rage in Portland, and although they are great they can also be expensive. You can just buy yourself some good old raw unpasteurized Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar and drink 1 Tbsp of vinegar in a glass of water 20 minutes prior to each meal. This will increase your acid production in anticipation of eating so that you will breakdown your food more efficiently. You can add a bit of honey to make it more palatable. You can also drink this concoction as needed if heartburn symptoms occur.

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5. Avoid carbonated beverages. Carbonation can be a killer to people with heartburn. If you drink lots of fizzy water or soda and find yourself suffering from that burn, cut it out for a few days and you’ll likely notice a big difference.

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6. Increase your consumption of probiotic foods like sauerkraut and kimchi. Once again, these will aid you in breaking down your food so that it doesn’t sit in your stomach testing your gastric valve.

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7. See a practitioner trained in functional nutrition. Functional nutrition looks at how the body reacts to food and how it uses food to optimize or sabotage its necessary functions. Your practitioner will take a holistic approach to your heartburn because there are other body systems and food habits that are often involved with this disorder. If you start with the above tips you will have a great foundation for ridding yourself of heartburn, and your practitioner will be able to build a treatment plan from there.


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