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Claudia Sanders remains closed

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By Nathan L. McBroom

A total of 100 people have now been reported to have gotten ill from eating at Claudia Sanders Dinner House on Easter Sunday.

As the investigation continues, Renee Blair, director of the North Central Health District, said the restaurant will remain closed until the cause of the illnesses is found.

Currently, the only correlation between all of the victims is that they ate at Claudia Sanders that day. No specific food item has been identified, Blair said.

The symptoms of the illnesses include severe abdominal cramps, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.

Blair said most of the patrons the health department has interviewed have already seen their health improve.

Nancy Sanders, environmental director of the North Central Health District, said the tests are looking for bacteria such as staph and bacillus cirrus.

Sanders said in most case these types of bacteria are not life-threatening.

However, Blair confirmed reports that a Shelby County man who ate at the restaurant died Tuesday night. She said as of now there is no confirmed correlation between his eating at the restaurant and his death.

The Shelby County Coroner's office could not be reached for comment.

In a press release, the restaurant said they "feel confident based on initial report this was not the fault of Claudia Sanders."

While the restaurant is closed, the health department is doing training with the restaurant's employees in proper hand washing and food preparation.

Blair said the training is not a response to poor habits previously but a "refresher course" while they are closed.

"It does not necessarily mean that this is what caused these problems," she said.

The health department is now asking all patrons who ate at the restaurant on Easter to contact the district office so they can be interviewed.

Blair said whether the patrons got sick or not, the information could help the health department determine what caused the outbreak.

The health department can be contacted at 633-1243.

Ducks Unlimited event moved

The Ducks Unlimited banquet, which had been planned for Claudia Sanders Saturday, March 29 will now be held in Floral Hall in the Shelby County Fairgrounds. The doors will open at 6 p.m. with dinner at 7 p.m.