Botulism leads to two deaths at South Junction
A tragic incident occurred in February 1948 at the Audra Carnagey Ranch at South Junction on the lower Deschutes River.
Edward Daniels, of Prineville, was visiting the Carnagey Ranch. During a supper meal, some home-canned spinach was served. Evidently, the spinach was canned not utilizing proper methods to eliminate botulism.
Mr. Daniels was reported to have become ill the next morning, but the deadly nature of his aliment was not suspected. By Friday morning, he was dead.
Mrs. Carnagey was gravely ill. The Madras ambulance was sent to the ranch to bring Mrs. Carnagey to the Prineville General Hospital. Mr. Carnagey remained at the ranch to await the arrival of a hearse from Prineville for Mr. Daniels' body, not realizing that he, also, was stricken.
The supply of antitoxin in Prineville was very small, and local doctor Elon Wood enlisted the help of state health officials in finding more. Some was sent from Portland and Seattle via airplane to Redmond and then by car to Prineville.
Mr. Carnagey was brought to Prineville, and in an attempt to save his life, he received some of the antitoxin intended for his wife. Mrs. Carnagey died after the rush to get antitoxin to Prineville was not in time to be of any good.
Investigation by health officials determined that the canned spinach had not been canned properly under sterile conditions. The Carnagey children did not like spinach and had not eaten the canned vegetable.
Mr. Daniels and Mrs. Carnagey were the only two victims to die. Mr. Carnagey recovered from his illness after obtaining the antitoxin.
Funeral services for Mr. Daniels and Mrs. Carnagey were conducted in Prineville, and burial was in the Odd Fellows Cemetery in Prineville.
Although sickness and occasionally death have resulted from improper canning of foods, it was a rarity for such an event to happen in the late 1940s. The incident received wide news coverage and created an atmosphere of extreme caution about eating home-canned foods for a short time after the two deaths. Newspapers contained stories about how to avoid similar incidents from occurring by listing proper precautions to follow when doing home canning.