Salad Eyed in Portillo’s Salmonella Outbreak

The growing Illinois <"">Salmonella outbreak has been initially linked to salad served at Portillo’ restaurant, say local and state health officials investigating the St. Charles restaurant foodborne outbreak.

In a just-released press release, the Kane County Health Department said that it; the Illinois Department of Public Health; and the DuPage, DeKalb, and Chicago health departments, are continuing in their investigation into the origin of the Salmonella typhimurium outbreak, said The Beacon-News. The restaurant is located at 3895 East Main Street in St. Charles. Three people required hospitalization; 10 of the infected people are female, and five are male. Our most current information places the age range of those sickened from 17 to 64.

The outbreak’s cause has not yet been determined; however, “the weight of evidence leans toward the ingestion of salad,” the release said, quoted The Beacon-News. The date of onset ranges from April 5 through April 30.

“Our investigation is showing that the outbreak appears to be localized,” Kane County Health Department Executive Director Paul Kuehnert said, quoted The Beacon-News. Of the 15 confirmed cases, 11 people reported having eaten at Portillo’s; seven of those ate a salad. Two Portillo’s employees tested positive for Salmonella typhimurium; however, the two are likely victims, not the cause, of the outbreak, said the health department, noted The Beacon-News.

As we’ve previously written, before they can return to work, Health Department officials said food workers must provide two samples, which must be 24 hours apart. Since that announcement, 76 employees have been cleared for work, said the Beacon-News.

Also, according to the release, all food samples that had been collected and tested, have tested negative for the Salmonella typhimurium pathogen, said the Beacon-News citing the press release. The Health Department previously described the increased Salmonella reports as “rare.”

Contamination with the Salmonella pathogen can cause salmonellosis, which can lead to serious consequences, most especially in the elderly, infants, and those with impaired immune systems, who may experience a more serious illness and symptoms. In these patients, the infection may spread from the intestines to the blood stream, and then to other body sites, and can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) note that people suffering from salmonellosis usually experience symptoms beginning 12 to 72 hours after becoming contaminated. Symptoms may include fever, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea and usually last 4 to 7 days. Most people recover without antibiotic treatment; however, diarrhea can be very severe, and hospitalization may be required.

While most people recover without treatment or visiting a doctor, the Health Department is recommending anyone experiencing these symptoms and who ate at the St. Charles Portillo’s between April 5 and May 6—this date range has been expanded since our last report on this outbreak—to call the Kane Health Department at 1.847.608.2128 or visit their personal physician.

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