AN INVESTIGATION has been launched to determine the cause of an outbreak of food-borne illness following a military dinner event at the Sheraton Laguna Resort last month.
Petty Officer 1st Class Jeffrey Price, public affairs manager of Submarine Squadron 15, confirmed that about 35 to 40 guests complained of diarrhea and abdominal pains after the Submarine Squadron Fifteen’s 113th Submarine Birthday Ball held at the Tamuning hotel on April 26.
According to a civilian guest who attended the ball, platters of beef kelaguen, shrimp patties and beef estufao or adobo were left out on the buffet line until 10 p.m.
The following Monday, several service members who attended the ball called in sick.
“Kelaguen was the main culprit as it is a dish prepared with raw meat and lemon,” the guest who requested anonymity told Variety.
The source said service members from off-island may not have been aware of the risks when they ate the suspect dish.
Department of Public Health and Social Service officials said the incident had been reported and a routine inspection had been performed. However, they said, further investigation will be performed by Navy officials.
“Our inspection of Sheraton was conducted as part of our general response whenever a regulated establishment, under our authority, is linked to any possible outbreak. It is not a confirmation that it is the source of the outbreak,” the DPHSS official said.
Ami Salas, Sheraton sales director, confirmed the hotel is working with Navy officials to investigate the incident.
Salas said Sheraton has been hosting the event for many years and it was the first time a food crisis situation has occurred.
An “outbreak” includes two or more ill individuals with a common exposure, such as same food or venue.
Outbreaks of food-borne illness are not a common occurrence, said the DPHSS official. However, many people do not report food-borne illness if it’s mild and they do not seek medical attention.