BOZEMAN — The Gallatin City-County Health Department and the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) say they are continuing to work with other health departments and federal agencies to investigate the foodborne illness outbreak linked to eating at Dave’s Sushi.
DPHHS and the health department said in a press release the investigation is ongoing and may not be able to identify a specific pathogen as the source of the outbreak. The outbreak reportedly appears to be isolated to people who at Dave’s Sushi between March 31 and April 17, 2023. At least 30 people have been identified in association with the outbreak who ate at Dave’s during this time frame.
The release said three people had severe outcomes, including hospitalizations, and two deaths are being investigated in connection with eating at Dave's between March 31 and April 17. Until autopsy and toxicology results are available, the manner and cause of death of these two people will remain pending.
The people identified by the investigation thus far reportedly became sick within 30 minutes to 4.5 hours after eating at Dave's.
Officials say preliminary investigative findings point to food containing morel mushrooms as the possible exposure of concern. At this time, no pathogens or toxins have been identified. State and federal partners continue to test clinical and food samples.
DPHHS says the mushrooms were cultivated in China, shipped to a distributor in California, then sent to multiple states. There are no known associated illnesses in other states identified at this time, and the mushrooms were not shipped to other restaurants or businesses in Montana.
Dave's Sushi remains closed, and officials say there does not appear to be any further risk to the public.
According to DPHHS epidemiologist Rachel Hinnenkamp of the Communicable Disease and Epidemiology Section, DPHHS is "working closely with federal partners assisting with this investigation, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Food and Drug Administration."
DPHHS recommends individuals who experienced illness after eating at Dave’s between March 31 and April 17 to call and report their symptoms to their local health department.
DPHHS also shared the following information:
Health officials say that anyone can get sick from eating contaminated food. The CDC estimates that each year in the United States 48 million people get sick from foodborne illnesses, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die. Additionally, certain groups are more likely to get sick and have a more serious illness. These groups include adults over the age of 65, children younger than 5 years, people with weakened immune systems, and those that are pregnant. It is recommended to take proper precautions – clean, separate, cook, and chill – when preparing food.
More information is available at the CDC's Foodborne Germs and Illnesses web page.