A salmonella outbreak struck the Lincoln Correctional Center in late November, and the affected inmates are recovering, state officials said Wednesday.

A number of men became ill, and testing confirmed the bacteria in six, according to the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services.

The severity of the illness can vary from person to person, said Dr. Harbans Deol, medical director for correctional services. Two inmates required treatment at an outside hospital, with one being admitted. Those two already had compromised immune systems, Deol said.

The outbreak occurred about Nov. 22. The illness can incubate, and the most recent sign of the illness occurred Friday, officials say.

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Corrections is working with the Lincoln/Lancaster County Health Department and Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services to figure out the source of the illness, but officials say they may never know.

Director Scott R. Frakes said it’s possible the cause of the illness was food that had been hidden away and improperly stored.

“Whatever food was consumed is long gone,” Frakes said.

The illness was confined to inmates living at the Lincoln prison, and most ill inmates were from the same housing unit. No staff member became ill, and no one from another correctional center, which shares food serves with the Lincoln facility, became ill, he said.

Authorities believe the outbreak is over.

The dining areas and kitchen at the Lincoln center have been disinfected.

Nancy Gaarder helps cover public safety and weather events as an editor on The World-Herald's breaking news desk. Follow her on Twitter @gaarder. Phone: 402-444-1102.

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