A teenager was sickened by a strain of Salmonella that originated inside a Clark College microbiology lab earlier this month.
“We believe the child could have been infected one of two ways,” Catherine Kroll, an epidemiologist with the Clark County Public Health Department (CCPH) said. “The first could be that the person working in the lab became ill and brought that home… Or that person brought home items that were used in the lab, such as pens and pencils and those were then used by the child.”
Clark College spokeswoman Barbara Kerr released a written statement last Friday morning:
“This type of incident has never happened before in our nearly 79-year history, but one time is one too many. We appreciate the opportunity to work closely with Clark County Public Health to ensure that we are implementing best practices in our classrooms. The safety of our students always comes first.”
CCPH did a review of Clark College lab procedures after the case of salmonella was reported.
“One of the big recommendations we made involved taking personal items in and out of the lab,” Kroll said. “Often, students will bring pens and pencils from home and use them in the laboratory, and what we’ve recommended, is that Clark College actually purchase pens and pencils and keep them in the lab and not have students take them back and forth.”
You have to wonder how often this really does happen? Earlier this year the CDC reported that it had collaborated with public health officials in several states to investigate a multistate cluster of Salmonella Typhimurium infections associated with exposure to clinical and teaching microbiology laboratories. Apparently, between August 20, 2010 and June 29, 2011, a total of 109 individuals infected with strain X of Salmonella Typhimurium were reported from 38 states: AK (2), AL (4), AZ (4), CA (3), CO (1), FL (1), GA (6), IA (1), ID (2), IL (4), IN (2), KS (4), KY (4), MA (4), MD (3), MI (3), MN (9), MO (2), NC (1), ND (1), NE (2), NH (1), NJ (3), NM (3), NV (1), NY (4), OH (3), OK (1), OR (1), PA (9), SC (2), SD (1), TN (2), TX (1), UT (4), WA (5), WI (4), and WY (1). Among persons with available information, illness onset dates range from August 20, 2010 to June 14, 2011, 2011. Infected individuals ranged in age from less than 1 year to 91 years old, and the median age was 21 years. Sixty-one percent of patients were female. Twelve percent of patients were hospitalized. One death was reported.