Health Department conducts food-borne illness outbreak investigation

By on May 13, 2011

Kane County—The Kane County Health Department, the Illinois Department of Public Health Laboratories, and other local health departments have reported a recent increase in Salmonella ser. Typhimurium in Northeastern Illinois.

In approximately the past two weeks, 10 cases of Salmonella ser. Typhimurium with a matching PFGE, or genetic, pattern have been reported In Illinois. This pattern is rare in Illinois. At least two additional cases of S. Typhimurium are pending the PFGE results. Cases in other states have also been identified.

While the investigation is ongoing, a common potential link is that seven of the people affected reported having eaten at Portillo’s in St. Charles during the month of April. No specific food item has been identified to be source of the illness.

The management of Portillo’s is actively cooperating with state and local health officials in the investigation. The restaurant was sanitized over night Monday, and is having all its food handlers tested for possible infection.

Before returning to work, the restaurant’s food handlers will need to provide two samples for testing, each one 24 hours apart. Portillo’s has called in workers from some of its other locations so that it can operate while waiting for the test results of the other staff members.

The seven people have tested positive for Typhimurium Salmonella. Most persons 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 people recover without treatment or ever visiting a doctor. However, in order to assist in the investigation, the Health Department is recommending that anyone who has had these symptoms visit their personal physician.