According to the Courier Journal, Staphylococcus aureus bacteria may have sickened more than 137 people who ate an Easter buffet at Claudia Sanders Dinner House in Shelbyville, state health officials said today. There is a report of one possible death. Preliminary results from the Kentucky State Lab suggested that Staphylococcus aureus might be the culprit of the food poisoning, although it’s not definitive since it was found in some stool samples and not others.
University of Arizona Food Safety Department has a good definition of Staph Food Poisoning:
Staphylococcal bacteria are very common. They are found in a wide variety of mammals and birds as well as on most surfaces. People are considered to be the main source associated with staphylococcal food poisoning. These bacteria are present in the nose, throat, hair, and skin of healthy persons. They are plentiful in cuts, pimples, and abscesses on people and their pets. Staphylococcus can live in high concentrations of salt and sugar where other bacteria would die. Some strains of Staphylococcus aureus are capable of producing a highly heat stable toxin. Staphylococcus grows best and multiplies rapidly between 68° and 99° F. Normal cooking temperatures will not destroy the toxin produced by this bacteria. This is why it is so important to wash your hands and always following good food handling practices when working with food.
Staphylococcal food poisoning results from growth and toxin production in food followed by eating the food containing the toxin. Symptoms of Staphylococcal food-poisoning occur between 1 to 8 hours after eating the contaminated food. This food-borne illness can last for 6 to 24 hours. Complete recovery may take 2 days or longer in severe cases. The most common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramping and exhaustion.