| By Rupert Howell
Panola County citizens were among those who had purchased suspected "tainted" peanut butter and at least one case of gastrointestinal discomfort was reported as Mississippi Department of Health (MDH) investigated four cases of Salmonella Tennessee, a bacterium that causes foodborne illness last week.
Laboratory testing has shown that these confirmed infections are the same strain identified in a national, multistate outbreak of Salmonella Tennessee associated with peanut butter.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers not to eat certain jars of Peter Pan Peanut Butter or Great Value peanut butter due to risk of contamination with Salmonella Tennessee.
The affected jars of Peter Pan and Great Value peanut butter have a product code located on the lid of the jar that begins with the number "2111".
If you are ill with fever, diarrhea and abdominal cramps, and you have eaten from a jar of Peter Pan or Great Value peanut butter with a product code that begins with "2111," see your healthcare provider, the MDH instructs.
Panola resident Beverly Martindale of Courtland took the warning seriously and got rid of her jar of Great Value peanut butter that had the 2111 lot number.
She said she has had salmonella poisoning before and "almost died."
Keep your jar for possible testing, but do not consume any more of its contents, MDH advises.
If you have a jar of Peter Pan or Great Value peanut butter with a product code that begins with "2111" and you have not eaten from this jar and you are not experiencing any illness, discard the jar.
No other brands of peanut butter have been identified with this outbreak of Salmonella Tennessee.
MDH has issued an alert to all health care providers in the state to ensure that the health care community is aware of the outbreak of Salmonella Tennessee and that they can provide appropriate medical care.
Health Department officials are working closely with local and state health departments and the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the investigation.
Most persons infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after exposure. The illness usually lasts four to seven days, and most recover without treatment.
However, in some persons the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. The elderly, infants and those with impaired immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness.