Food-Borne Illness Is Topic Of Next Senior Circle Lunch And Learn


Kerry Cassens will be the guest speaker at the Senior Circle Lunch and Learn April 13. She will discuss “Food-borne Illness: What is it and how to avoid it.”


Photo courtesy of PRMC

Kerry Cassens, director of infection prevention, employee health and education at Payson Regional Medical Center, will speak to members of the Senior Circle about food-borne illnesses April 13.

Cassens grew up on a farm in rural southwest Minnesota and graduated from Rochester Community College with an associate degree in nursing.

With her husband and three young children, she relocated to Chandler in 1985.

She continued her education earning a bachelor’s of science degree in nursing from University of Phoenix, master’s in nursing from Arizona State University and a master’s in public health from the University of Arizona.

She is board certified in occupational and environmental health and safety. She has worked in rural hospitals, long-term care, and industry for Honeywell, CIGNA, and for City of Chandler.

She and her husband moved to Payson in 2008 and she is now the director of infection prevention, employee health and education at Payson Regional Medical Center.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that each year roughly one out of six Americans (or 48 million people) gets sick; 128,000 are hospitalized; and 3,000 die from food-borne diseases. For most, it is a two- to three-day illness and they are fine. Those affected most by severe complications and death are usually the very old and the very young.

The spectrum of food-borne illnesses continues to change. A century ago, typhoid fever, tuberculosis and cholera were common food-borne illnesses.  Improvements in food safety, such as pasteurization of milk, safe canning, and disinfection of water supplies have conquered those. 

Today other food-borne illnesses have taken their place: Campylobacter, Salmonella, and E. coli O157:H7, and by a group of viruses called calicivirus, also known as the Norwalk and Norwalk-like viruses. Other common illnesses are occasionally food-borne, even though they are usually transmitted by other routes including: Shigella, hepatitis A, and the parasites Giardia lamblia and Cryptosporidia. 

Please consult a health care provider for a diarrheal illness that lasts longer than three days or is accompanied by one or more of the following symptoms: high fever (over 101.5 orally), blood in the stools, prolonged vomiting, signs of dehydration (dry mouth, decreased urine, dizzy feeling when standing up). Treatment depends on the causative organism and may be symptomatic and supportive or require prescription medication.

Come and learn from Cassens some preventive measures you can take to avoid being a victim of food-borne illness.

Reservations are necessary as space is limited. Lunch and Learns are free and a light lunch is served. Call (928) 472-9290 to reserve a seat.

Health services

The Diabetic Support Group will meet from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., Monday, March 28 at the Senior Circle. John Hancock, diabetic educator will speak.

Kim Stovall from CCS Medical Supplies recently handed out free diabetic meter check kits at the Senior Circle. Stovall was also on hand at the support group meeting to answer any questions about diabetic equipment and insurance coverage for diabetic medical needs. Stovall will be back at the Senior Circle from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday, April 25 to hand out more free meter check kits.

Free hearing tests will be given from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Wednesday. April 6. Call the Senior Circle at (928) 472-9290 for an appointment.

Travel news

Sign up now for the Valley Verde Train trip scheduled for April 28. The cost of the trip is $121 and includes transportation, train ride and lunch.

Deposits are due for the Durango Silverton Train trip slated for July 10. The double occupancy rate is $495 and includes two nights and the train trip. For more information call Rene at the Senior Circle at (928) 472-9290.


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