St. Mary's County woman died from salmonella-tainted food

November 13, 1997|By Douglas M. Birch | Douglas M. Birch,SUN STAFF

The state medical examiner ruled yesterday that the death of a St. Mary's County woman was caused by eating salmonella-tainted food at a church supper.

Dr. John E. Smialek released a statement confirming suspicions that the death of Grace Oatley, 81, of Chaptico was due to the Nov. 2 outbreak.

She died the evening of Nov. 4.

Nearly 750 people became ill after they ate a ham-and-turkey dinner at Our Lady of the Wayside Church in Chaptico.

Health officials said a Baltimore woman who died after eating food from the supper was likely a heart attack victim.

A state lab confirmed that the most likely source of the salmonella bacteria was 38 stuffed hams served at the supper.

More than 1,400 people ate at the church that day. Of those who fell ill, 161 reported to hospital emergency rooms. A St. Mary's County health official said two remained hospitalized yesterday.

Pub Date: 11/13/97

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