• Watauga Co. health dept. investigates salmonella outbreak


    WATAUGA COUNTY, N.C. - Friday night dinner in Boone was business as usual at Proper restaurant, even after a warning about five confirmed cases of salmonella poisoning believed to be linked to the establishment.

    “It’s surprises me. Proper has been a local favorite. I'm really surprised by it,” Katelin Fox said.

    The Watauga County Health Department says at least nine people have been sickened, suffering diarrhea, stomach pain, nausea and fever.

    "We are still investigating to determine the source (or sources) of infection. We are also actively working with restaurant management to resolve this as soon as possible," said Beth Lovette, health director. "We would like to thank the restaurant for their cooperation. The restaurant has been diligent and responsive during this process and we appreciate their commitment to the safety of their customers."

    Symptoms developed within three days of eating at the restaurant. Others said they ate at the restaurant and didn't have a problem.

    Salmonella infection is caused by bacteria transmitted by food, water or surfaces contaminated with feces of an infected animal or person.

    Symptoms can be mild or severe and last for weeks.

    Experts say anyone can get the illness, but children are most at risk along with the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.

    Victims should stay hydrated and go to the doctor if symptoms don't improve.

    "We want people to call the health department even if they have recovered so we can ask them questions in hopes of identifying the source of the contamination," Lovette said.

    The health department says the restaurant is cooperating.

    “I think that's great. It shows that they are doing whatever they can to stay in business,” Caitlin Flannery said.

    Regular diners said the salmonella scare won't stop them from coming back.

    “Absolutely not. Proper has the best mac and cheese in town and I will continue to go there, even if it’s just for the mac and cheese,” Flannery said.

    The Health Department is asking anyone who ate food or drank beverages from Proper Restaurant (142 S. Water St., Boone, NC) on or after May 17 and started having diarrhea within three days of eating or drinking to call the department at 828-264-6635.

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