Fern Hill Golf & Country Club Salmonella Outbreak LitigationOn May 9, 2005, the Macomb County Health Department (MCHD) received reports of five recently diagnosed cases of Salmonella in Macomb County residents. All five had sought care at area hospitals and three had been admitted for in-patient care. Isolates obtained from cultures of stool specimens obtained from case patients were sent to the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) Public Health Laboratory where they were serotyped as Salmonella enteriditis.
MCHD staff conducted initial interviews with the five case patients. All had experienced symptom onset on or after April 29, 2005 and the only common exposure among the five individuals was attendance at a reception held at the Macomb County Community College Performing Arts Center in Clinton Township, following Donny Osmond concerts. After-concert events had been held on two consecutive nights, April 28 and April 29, at the Arts Center. Twenty three persons who had attended the events reported symptoms consistent with a salmonellosis and eight were laboratory-confirmed with Salmonella. MCHD’s analysis established a statistically significant association between consumption of éclairs served both days and illness.
Coincident to the epidemiologic investigation, an environmental investigation of the Fern Hill Golf & Country Club, one of the caterers for the events, was conducted by MCHD on May 10, 2005. Although MCHD was unable to identify how food items served and prepared at Fern Hill had become contaminated with Salmonella, the likely vehicle for the bacteria was identified as being éclairs on the outbreak report submitted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The report lists 8 confirmed cases and 17 probable cases of S. enteriditis occurring at the Macomb County Community College “After-Concert” reception.
Marler Clark's Salmonella lawyers represented several women, all of whom received emergency medical treatment or were hospitalized, in litigation against Fern Hill Golf & Country Club. The cases were resolved in mid-2006.