By Staff reports
Published: Friday, September 20, 2013 at 17:09 PM.
More than 70 people have now reported illnesses linked to a recent local church barbecue fundraiser, according to health officials.
But Cleveland County Health Department officials say they believe the illness outbreak, suspected to be salmonella, is not continuing to spread.
An investigation of the illnesses continues, according to the health department, which reports the people who got sick attended the Sandy Plains Baptist Church barbecue fundraiser on Sept. 7.
The health department first announced the illness outbreak Tuesday, with nine reported sick. That number tripled to 28 Wednesday and increased to 54 Thursday.
As of Friday, 71 people had reported getting sick after visiting the barbecue. Among those, 37 people are Rutherford County residents and 34 are Cleveland County residents.
Thirteen people have been hospitalized, with nine of those in Cleveland County, according to a news release from the health department.
Health officials say the most recent date someone has reported first getting sick was Sept. 14.