Child Treated For Salmonella Discharged From ICU

A mother of a 13 year old Center girl confirms that her daughter was diagnosed with salmonella. Ashlyn Johnson was one of more than three dozen people who came down with gastrointestinal illnesses. They all attended a Relay For Life event at Roughrider Stadium in Center last Friday evening.

Courtney Johnson, the child's mother said Ashlyn's kidney's were failing so she was lifeflighted to a Shreveport hospital Tuesday night. She came home Friday, exactly one week after eating one scoop of some homemade ice cream that was sold at the event.  Her mother said her daughter ate only the homemade ice cream that was made and served by a Center church.

" The doctor said she would have this for a couple of months, but it would eventually go away and right now she's not allowed to work around food or anything like that because she was working at a little concession stand at the ballpark, but she can't do that," said Johnson as she was leaving the hospital.  Johnson said the doctor told her that if her Ashlyn hadn't received the medical attention she might have to go on kidney dialysis. Johnson said the kidneys came short of failing. Johnson said her daughter felt crampy Saturday and the symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea began. She dismissed it as a virus and kept her home from school on Monday.

Johnson, who works at a pharmacy began noticing customers coming in for medication to treat the same symptoms as her daughter. Then she heard about suspicions of food poisoning. " I immediately got my daughter and took her to the emergency room as she was really sick by then. They began treating her with fluids, but the doctor said she needed more specialized help. They brought in a helicopter and flew my child to Shreveport," said Johnson. Ashlyn spent a week in the intensive care unit. She's now well enough to return to school on Monday.

The Texas Department of State Health Services said the investigation is continuing and that no organism or specific source for the illness have been confirmed yet, though some kind of food or drink served at the event is suspected.

Attempts were made to reach leaders of the church that sold the ice cream. They didn't return phone calls.

Cancer Society Responds

American Cancer Society Statement to Shelby County - May 9, 2008

For three years Shelby County residents have come together to support the American Cancer Society Relay For Life. The event pulls this community together around the issue of cancer and allows those fighting the disease, along with their families, caregivers and others to celebrate life, remember those lost and support our work to end this disease. The American Cancer Society is extremely grateful to those who give of their time and support through Relay as well as those who help with the many programs and services we provide.

The community is truly committed to helping those who are suffering and that commitment is evident in the ongoing expressions of concern for those who recently fell ill. As staff and volunteers with the American Cancer Society we are deeply concerned for all those affected by this outbreak. We continue to be in contact to keep everyone apprised of the situation on the health of those who became sick.

The American Cancer Society staff and volunteers care dearly for the people in Shelby County - many of us have become close friends during our years of working together. We want the residents of Shelby County to know our thoughts and prayers are with those who became sick and their families. It is our hope that strength and healing will come quickly to help them through this difficult time.

Joy Rich , Community Manager, East Texas Region, American Cancer Society, High Plains
Kelly Hutchison , Volunteer Chairman, Shelby County Relay For Life, American Cancer Society, High Plains