Salad suspected in salmonella outbreak
From Submitted Reports May 23, 2011 4:24PM
Updated: September 29, 2011 12:43AM
Local and state health officials say a recent salmonella outbreak may been caused by eating contaminated salad at a St. Charles restaurant.
In a press release issued Monday, the Kane County Health Department said that it — along with the Illinois Department of Public Health and the DuPage, DeKalb and Chicago health departments — continues to investigate the cause of a salmonella typhimurium outbreak that appears to be linked to the Portillo’s restaurant at 3895 E. Main St. in St. Charles.
The number of confirmed cases stands at 15, with eight from Kane County, four from DuPage County, and one each from Chicago, DeKalb County, and one in Minnesota.
An exact cause of the outbreak has not been identified, but “the weight of evidence leans toward the ingestion of salad,” the release said.
It is not known how the salad became contaminated, officials said.
“Our investigation is showing that the outbreak appears to be localized,” Kane County Health Department Executive Director Paul Kuehnert said. “We want to thank Portillo’s, as it has cooperated thoroughly and proved to be an active partner in this investigation.”
Eleven of the 15 cases reported eating at Portillo’s, and seven of those reported eating a salad.
Two employees have tested positive for salmonella typhimurium, but the investigation has identified them as likely victims of the outbreak and not the cause, according to the health department.
A total of 76 employees have been cleared to return to work, meaning they have tested negative twice in tests conducted 48 hours apart. Food samples collected from the restaurant all tested negative, the release said.
Other information about the outbreak:
Onset date ranged from April 5 through April 30.
Three people were hospitalized.
10 of those infected are female; five are male.
Most people who are infected with salmonella develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts four to seven days, and most persons recover without treatment or ever visiting a doctor, according to the release.
The health department is recommending that anyone who ate at the St. Charles Portillo’s between April 5 and May 6 and had or currently has these symptoms to call the department at 847-608-2128.