Laboratory tests are ongoing in relation to an outbreak of campylobacteriosis among patrons of a New York restaurant. The Wild Ginger restaurant in Cortland is closed until further notice.

The Cortland County Health Department notified the public about the outbreak on Nov. 7  via its Facebook page. The alert also provided general information about infections caused by Campylobacter. The health alert says:

“The Cortland County Health Department is alerting residents of an outbreak of Campylobacteriosis among people who ate at Wild Ginger, Main St., Cortland, between 10/18/2019 and 10/31/2019. To date, seven patrons have tested positive for this bacterial infection.”

As of Nov. 7 the restaurant was closed for cleaning. It will not be allowed to reopen until health inspectors sign off. Local media reported the restaurant owners have hired a third party company to handle the sanitizing work.

Don Ware, the county’s supervising public health sanitarian told restaurant owners “voluntarily closed to do some clean up.”

County inspectors collected samples of food from the restaurant for testing. Those test results are pending. The results could be inconclusive.

“This particular bacteria, it’s not easy to find after a certain amount of time. “There’s a window there for confirmation,” health director Catherine Feuerherm told the Cortland Standard.

Public records show the most recent inspection of the Wild Ginger restaurant was in September. It was inspected in March, also.

About Campylobacter infections
Anyone can become infected with Campylobacter, but it is most dangerous for patients who are very ill or at high risk for severe disease, such as people with severely weakened immune systems; certain blood disorders; AIDS; and people receiving chemotherapy.

Anyone who ate at the Wild Ginger restaurant during the specified time and developed symptoms of  Campylobacter infection — campylobacteriosis — should seek medical attention and tell their doctor about the possible exposure. Specific lab tests are needed to diagnose the infection.

People with Campylobacter infection usually have diarrhea that is often bloody, fever, and abdominal cramps. The diarrhea may be accompanied by nausea and vomiting. Symptoms usually start within two to five days after exposure and last about a week. Some infected people do not have any symptoms. In high-risk patients campylobacter sometimes spreads to the bloodstream and causes a life-threatening infection.

In 2014, testing found Campylobacter on 33 percent of raw chicken bought from retailers. Milk can also become contaminated as can fruits and vegetables. Outbreaks of Campylobacter infections have been associated most often with poultry, raw (unpasteurized) dairy products, untreated water, and produce.