“We all got sick just two hours after eating the pizza!” – Part 3

I mentioned in Part 1 that I served as an expert witness in the lawsuit that alleged the pizza restaurant was responsible for the Shigella infections.

If the restaurant was the cause, then one of the food workers must have had Shigella, they did not wash their hands after using the bathroom, and then they touched the pizza after it was cooked (cooking the pizza would have killed Shigella).

My job was sort of like detective work–to find out who was the actual culprit.

What I learned from scientific journals (such as reports from the US Centers for Disease Control-CDC) was that it takes at least 12 hours and sometimes 3 or 4 days before a person shows symptoms of Shigella.

Remember the mother who picked up the pizza?

She said her daughter became sick immediately after eating the pizza. However, even if Shigella was on the pizza, there was no way her daughter would have shown symptoms just minutes after eating the pizza slice. It would have taken at least 12 hours. And, later learned that some of the children in the dance class had already shown some signs of Shigella infection on the day they ate the pizza.

And therefore, the pizza restaurant was not the cause of the outbreak of Shigella in the dance group.

Instead, the health department investigators believed that one of the children in the dance class had a Shigella infection, and had likely passed it to other children while they held hands during dances. When these other children became infected, they then passed it on to their parents at home.

Case closed!

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