Subway Says it’s Sorry it Made You Sick

In the midst of the ongoing and growing <"">Salmonella outbreak in Illinois, the Subway restaurant chain has issued a public apology, said The Associated Press (AP). To date, about 80 people in 26 counties have fallen ill with the rare Salmonella serotype Hvittingfoss; those sickened range in age from two to 79.

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 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.

Last week, we wrote that the state health department was urging those who fell ill after eating at Subway restaurants since May 10 to immediately contact either their health care provider or local health department. Everyone who reported becoming sick said they fell ill between May 11 and May 18 the News-Gazette previously reported.

According to the News-Gazette, the 26 counties implicated include: Bureau, Cass, Champaign, Christian, Coles, DeKalb, DeWitt, Fulton, Henry, Knox, LaSalle, Livingston, Macon, Marshall, McLean, Moultrie, Ogle, Peoria, Sangamon, Schuyler, Shelby, Tazewell, Vermilion, Warren, Will, and Winnebago. At last count, seven people remained hospitalized. Fresh produce is considered the likely culprit.

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.

Subway restaurants were implicated in prior food poisoning outbreak. We recently wrote about Shigella cases linked to a Subway in Lombard, Illinois, which reached 116. At least 13 of those sickened were hospitalized. In that case, 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, or 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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