Subway Restaurants to be Tested, as Salmonella Spreads

The continuing and growing <"">Salmonella outbreak that has hit Illinois hard continues to grow. Now, the Illinois Department of Public Health says that 46 Subway restaurants are linked to the outbreak, reported Blue MauMau. The 46 restaurants are all undergoing testing.

The number of counties implicated has also risen to 28 and, according to Dr. Damon T. Arnold, Illinois’ public health director, “In an effort to prevent a secondary outbreak, the Department is taking precautions by requiring food handlers at certain SUBWAY® restaurants in Illinois to be tested and cleared before being allowed to handle food,” quoted Blue MauMau.

The number of sickened reached 90 on Friday; 25 people required hospitalization, said Blue MauMau. One class action lawsuit is underway and other legal action is expected.

The Illinois Department of Public Health is collaborating with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Subway restaurant chain, and local health departments. Produce distributors are being investigated, said the Packer previously.

Last week, the Subway restaurant chain issued a public apology, said The Associated Press (AP) over the outbreak that involves the rare Salmonella serotype Hvittingfoss; those sickened range in age from two to 79. Subway corporate spokesman Kevin Kane issued the apology saying the firm was sorry for the problems, pointing out that those sickened ate at Subway prior to June 3 and confirmed that Subway has thrown out and replaced lettuce, green peppers, red onions, and tomatoes, wrote the AP. According to the Illinois Department of Health, people began falling ill May 11, the AP Added.

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.

Meanwhile, Subway restaurants were implicated in another, prior food poisoning outbreak. In that outbreak, Shigella cases linked to a Subway in Lombard, Illinois reached 116. At least 13 people were hospitalized. The Shigella bacteria involved were Shigella sonnei, which can be lethal. The DuPage County Health Department never found the source of the Shigella, and concedes it may never be able to.

Shigella is a genus of bacteria that are a major cause of diarrhea worldwide and is transmitted by ingestion of contaminated food or water—generally contaminated with feces—through person-to-person contact. In the body, Shigella can invade and destroy the cells lining the large intestine, causing mucosal ulceration and bloody diarrhea and can cause fever, abdominal cramps, and rectal pain. Shigellosis can be treated with antibiotics, although some strains have developed drug resistance.

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