by: Eric Philips Updated:
CLEVELAND COUNTY, N.C. - Investigators are trying to determine whether food at a Shelby church fundraiser caused people to get salmonella poisoning.
So far, there are 13 confirmed cases, but about 5,000 people attended the fundraiser that was held more than two weeks ago at Sandy Plains Baptist Church.
Every year the church holds a fundraiser complete with barbecue plates.
Health officials said after this year's event on Sept. 7 they started receiving reports from hospitals of salmonella poisoning.
All of the reports had one thing in common: The victims had eaten food at the event.
Health officials said so far there have been 13 reported cases of salmonella poisoning, eight in Cleveland County and five in Rutherford County.
The victims are mostly elderly and one of them is still in the hospital.
An 8-year-old child also got sick.
"Immune systems for the elderly and the children do not fight off disease easily," said Cleveland County Health Director Dorothea Wyant.
There are no regulations for an event like that, so health officials are working with the church to make sure it does not happen again.
If you received one of the 5,000 plates from the church and you still have leftovers in your refrigerator or freezer, health officials said throw it out.
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