Illinois Subway Restaurants Linked to Salmonella Outbreak

Another foodborne illness outbreak has been linked to Subway restaurants in Illinois. The News Gazette wrote that the Illinois Department of Public Health as well as local health departments have a probe underway to determine the cause of an outbreak of <"">Salmonella that appears to be linked to Subway.

The Health Department reported that it has confirmed 34 Salmonella cases linked to the outbreak, said the News Gazette. Of the 34, 14 required hospitalization.

A written release by the Illinois Department of Public Health said that those people who were sickened with Salmonella all appeared to have eaten at Subway restaurants in 14 Illinois counties: Champaign, Sangamon, Schuyler, Christian, Bureau, LaSalle, Cass, Peoria, Shelby, Warren, Macon, Ogle, Fulton, and Tazewell, said the News Gazette.

The report noted that those sickened ranged in age from six to 88 and that the illnesses began between May 14 and 25. The report also indicated that Subway voluntarily withdrew and replaced all its lettuce, green peppers, red onions, and tomatoes from the impacted dates.

Salmonella, the most prevalent food borne pathogen in this country, is an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis, and arthritis.

Salmonella poisoning can also lead to Reiter’s Syndrome, a difficult-to-treat reactive arthritis characterized by severe joint pain, irritation of the eyes, and painful urination. Some Salmonella bacteria are antibiotic resistant, largely due to the use of antibiotics to promote the growth of feed animals.

Subway restaurants have been implicated in food poisoning outbreaks in the past. For example, we recently wrote about shigella cases linked to a single Subway restaurant in Lombard, Illinois, which—at last count—reached 116. According to The Lombard Spectator, that number was confirmed by the DuPage County Health Department. At least 13 of those sickened were hospitalized.

The DuPage County Health Department was not—to date—able to pinpoint the source of the shigella, and concedes that it may never be able to.

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