ACCOMACK, Va. - Officials with the Accomack County Health Department and the Foodborne Disease Team from the Virginia Department of Health are still investigating a number of gastrointestinal illnesses that are believed to be related to the Chincoteague Chili Chowder Cook Off September 30. Monday, state health officials found salmonella in samples from the cook-off, which have made dozens of people violently ill.
After the initial investigation began last week, more than 350 people have responded to the survey that was sent out.
Health officials say they’ve started locating local residents that may have attended the event, but have found attendees from some states to the north have also reported illnesses.
There are plenty of festivals and outdoor food events in Hampton Roads, so News 3 asked Dr. Linwood Joyner about steps people can take to stay healthy.
"I would suggest good hand hygiene. Whether you want to bring hands sanitizer with you or you utilize the rinse stations," said Dr. Joyner.
Also, attendees shouldn't be afraid to ask questions about the food they plan on eating.
" How long has this food been cooked? Is it cooked well? If you end up purchasing food you're concerned about maybe asking the vendor if they can prepare it again or cook it more. I think that's a fair thing to do," said Dr. Joyner.
In addition, there are some foods more susceptible to salmonella or other food-related illnesses, including poultry, egg and milk-based products.
If you attended the Chincoteague Chili Chowder Cook Off, the health district want to hear from you whether or not you became ill. Click here to complete the survey.
If you attended the event and are ill, you should contact your primary caregiver. If you are extremely ill, you should seek assistance from an emergency room.
The Accomack County Health Department is still waiting to receive test results from the Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services in Richmond.