01 December 2010

Becoming A Health Department Issue

 I received the strangest phone call yesterday.  A man from the Waco Health Department wanted to talk to me about Bennett's October Salmonella outbreak.

Apparently, anytime a Waco resident tests positive for salmonella, it must be reported by the doctors' office to the health department.

So, this kind Middle Eastern man from the Waco Health Deparment, named Ahmad, wanted to know if I could think of anything that my son might have eaten to have given him Salmonella.

I wanted to laugh and ask him the same question: how did my son get salmonella?!

I explained that my son had a condition called Cystic Fibrosis and is almost completely tube-fed formula (a few bites of cracker or a few cheetos didn't strike me as something that would give him Salmonella).  I explained that I knew of no reason why my son would have contracted salmonella as I don't cook very often do not often interact with raw meat/raw eggs.  I explained that we are very vigilant about germs and do not take cleanliness lightly.

The man was very kind and acknowledged the information I gave to him.  He seemed surprised that Bennett showed no symptoms of Salmonella, and therefore was not treated, but merely documented this.

He went on to ask me if we had recently traveled outside the city, county or state.  I told him we had not.  I could hear him clicking away on his computer, most likely inputing my responses. 

I thought it was very funny.  It was as though Bennett had contracted a very contagious and horrible bacteria, which greatly alarmed the entire health department.  For a moment my heart skipped a beat as I imagined having men in white gear entering my house looking for the source of the Salmonella - or worse, Child and Family Protection services coming in to evaluate my abilities to keep my children free from this bacteria.

But what was even more humorous to me was at the end of the call, before the man hung up, I explained, "listen, you're likely to talk to me again.  My son is likely to contract something else in the future.  And besides, my other son ended up with Salmonella too."

The man replied, "yes, any chance you're talking about Oliver?"  I said yes. 

He said, "Ok, good, because I didn't have Oliver's contact information.  So it's great that you can go ahead and tell me about his Salmonella issues, too."

I chuckled as I repeated my answers to his questions again. 

He went on and told me about making sure I wash my hands, use hand santitizer and cleaned off the handlebars of shopping carts to prevent my kids from getting Salmonella in the future.

I thanked him for his work and time.  Poor guy is just trying to save one person at a time from Salmonella.

For me, it was just another "you know you're a CF mom when..." moment!


  1. Okay, that seriously is a framable picture! I love the color and symmetry of it. I say, hang it up :)

  2. Oh girl! My daughter (3 yo) had a positive skin test for TB in our preparation for school. Both the chest x-ray and blood test came back negative, but I got a call from the local Health Dept... I was warned that this would happen, but I too had visions of CPS coming in to 'inspect' my house... You've got such a great attitude about it! I'm sorry to say my health dept worker probably did not feel very warm and fuzzy when I hung up...

  3. I know this is an old post, but I contracted salmonella when I was a year old. I don't have CF, no one knows where I got it from. Like you, it had to be reported to the health department who then came out and did a thorough investigation of the house and garden (this was 1989). They couldn't find a trace of it anywhere. So then, every person I had come into contact with over the past week or so had to submit a stool sample. They still couldn't find it anywhere but my grandmother's husband had just returned from Thailand and refused to give a sample, so...

    You are very lucky that Bennett didn't show symptoms. I became very ill from it and never truly bounced back. Bit paranoid about raw chicken these days!

    1. Thanks Lauren. I agree we are lucky we didn't have any symptoms. That's crazy that everybody had to submit to a stool sample. Sorry to hear you became so very ill. Good luck with your chicken experiences in the future!! :)


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