WASHINGTON COUNTY, Tenn. -

Health officials are investigating a salmonella outbreak in Northeast Tennessee.

Twenty-five cases of salmonella have been reported so far this year. Nineteen of those occurred in our region over the last two weeks and 15 of those people live in Washington County, Tenn.

"It built up pretty quick just in the last week so we've kind of ramped up our efforts and the investigation to try to find a link," said David Kirschke, the medical director for the Northeast Tennessee Regional Health Department.

Kirschke explains they've been calling each person diagnosed to try and find the source.

They ask questions like "where have you been grocery shopping?" or "have you been in contact with animals?"

"We haven't found any common links between any of them," said Kirschke. "It does look like there's several different serotypes of salmonella."

Kirschke told us that means it's less likely these cases are related.

Last year by this time, there were 33 cases of salmonella reported in the Volunteer State but those were more spread out.

"We don't have an unusually high number for the year but they're all clustered in this time period, which impels us to do an investigation," said Kirschke.

Those people who got salmonella over the last two weeks range in age from seven years old to 54-years-old.

Kirschke said the best way to prevent salmonella is to make sure you thoroughly cook poultry, ground beef and eggs and wash all fresh fruits and vegetables.