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Second salmonella-associated death reported in Rhode Island

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • A total of 66 cases are thought to be associated with the salmonella outbreak
  • Of those, 39 are confirmed to be salmonella
  • The mother of a sick teen has filed a lawsuit against the bakery linked to the illnesses
  • Health officials are looking for the source of the bakery's eggs

(CNN) -- A second man has died amid a salmonella outbreak that has sickened dozens of people and may be linked to a Rhode Island bakery, health officials said Friday.

The patient, who died Thursday, was in his 90s and had tested positive for salmonella, according to Annemarie Beardsworth, public information officer for the state's health department. It was not clear if he died from salmonella or from "underlying medical conditions," she said.

A total of 66 cases were being tracked as part of the investigation of the outbreak, which is linked to baked goods made by DeFusco's bakery in Johnston, according to the latest information on the Rhode Island Department of Health website. Sixty-five of those were in Rhode Island and one was in Massachusetts, it says.

Tests had confirmed salmonella in 39 people, and 28 had been hospitalized, the health department website says.

Erin Carrera, whose 16-year-old son became sick, has filed a lawsuit against DeFusco's, which made and distributed zeppoles that state health officials have said are the most likely cause of the outbreak.

"I was just infuriated, absolutely infuriated." Carrera told CNN affiliate WPRI.

"As a chef, I'm infuriated by the lack of food handling and food safety that was practiced there, and as a mother infuriated that my son should have to go through an illness for simply enjoying a couple of zeppoles," Carrera said.

Eggs may have been at the center of the outbreak. A release on the bakery's website says, "Pastry shells from DeFusco's had been stored in used egg crates, which could have exposed the shells to infected raw eggs."

Health officials are working to identify all locations that sold zeppoles made by DeFusco's and also are looking into the source of the eggs, according to the website.