50 people become very sick after attending church picnic

The St. Patrick's Irish Picnic in McEwen 
By: David Ross 

It turns out that attending church was not such a good idea at least for these 50 people.

Public health officials are looking for the origin of a disease that affected at least 50 people, who attended a community picnic at a church in central Tennessee.

The St. Patrick's Irish Picnic in McEwen, is a tradition dating back at least 158 years and attracts about 20,000 people a year.

Health Department spokesperson Shelly Walker said that people already started coming to the event a few days early, after this year's event was supposed to take place on July 27 and July 28.

Walker said some cases have tested positive for a strain of salmonella bacteria. She said investigators also have interviewed a number of people attending the picnic that have not become ill.

Several food items have been tested, but the department has not tracked down the source of the disease.

Food containing bacteria can get people very sick when consumed. It can sometimes even cause death especially with people that have weakened immune systems, such as the young and the elderly.



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