MORGAN COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) - State epidemiologist Dr. Mary McIntyre confirms there are 19 combined cases of E. coli and Salmonella in Morgan County.
McIntyre confirmed to WHNT News 19 that the Alabama Department of Public Health is conducting an ongoing investigation of a possible foodborne outbreak in Morgan County.
McIntyre said the ADPH Central Office in Montgomery has received only one call, but it is aware of additional calls being made to Morgan County.
"At this time, we are aware of 19 reports of illness based on our current information. We have positive test results for E. coli and Salmonella. While we cannot report on individual cases due to Fed and State privacy and confidentiality laws, we are aware of one death possibly associated with this outbreak. The investigation is ongoing at this time," McIntyre said in a statement.
Health officials told us the death of a 71-year-old Clarence Hampton might also be connected to the foodborne illnesses. Hampton’s uncle wants answers. Health officials are not connecting the dots. They're trying to be responsible.
Hampton’s family doesn't care. They want the state to move faster after so many others also became sick.
“We have a dead relative. My nephew is dead. He can`t come back here,” said Newt MacDonald
MacDonald's nephew and dozens of others went to a public luncheon at a church in Decatur on May 30, 2014.
Hampton felt sick after eating the food. He went to the hospital two days later.
“I went to the health department and asked them about it. They knew nothing about it,” said MacDonald.
MacDonald begged for answers. He demanded doctors file a report.
“I just want to know what`s going on. I think the public needs to know if there is a risk out there that could be contamination of food. I believe it has to deal with food poisoning,” added MacDonald.
MacDonald is no doctor. He asked WHNT News 19 to get answers from the state's health department.
“I would not want another family to go through what my family is going through right now,” added MacDonald.
Friday afternoon a state epidemiologist confirmed health employees are performing medical record reviews and questionnaires with the 19 people in Morgan County.
It's the result MacDonald wanted all along, but did not see until WHNT News 19 began making calls.
“It`s the attention the public needs. If there is a public concern, a public agency should be accountable for addressing that concern,“ added MacDonald.
Health officials know where Hampton ate before getting sick. Officials won't name the location until tests confirm the source of the outbreak happened there.