The Kane County Health Department is reporting 13 confirmed cases of salmonella poisoning in a Northern Illinois outbreak, most of which have ties to Portillo’s restaurant in St. Charles.
The salmonella found in all 13 victims matches the same genetic code of Salmonella ser. Typhimurium and all the victims reported having eaten at the restaurant sometime in April, according to the health department, which continues to investigate the outbreak along with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), as well as other area health departments.
Three victims were hospitalized and were released after treatment. Seven of the victims are from Kane County, four are DuPage County residents, one is from Cook County and one is from Minnesota. Nine are female and four are male, ranging in age from 17 to 64 years.
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Restaurant owners are actively cooperating with the investigation and had the building cleaned and sanitized on May 9. All food items were discarded, except for samples that were collected by Kane County Health Department staff to send to the IDPH lab for testing.
The restaurant also is paying for store employee testing, the results of which are expected early next week. No employees from the Portillo’s St. Charles location are allowed to return to work until they have had two tests showing they are not infected. The restaurant remains open; employees from other Portillo’s restaurants transferred to St. Charles to operate the East Main Street site.
“Portillo’s takes deep pride in our entire operation and we are committed to maintaining the utmost standards in food safety,” Portillo's management said in earlier this week in a prepared statement. “Over the years, we have served as a leader for food sanitation, safety and cleanliness.”
Paul Kuehnert, executive director of the Kane County Health Department, also said earlier this week that the St. Charles Portillo’s location typically gets “high reviews” during health inspections. He also said the entire Portillo’s chain has an excellent health inspection record.
Most people infected with salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. Illness usually lasts four to seven days.
The Kane County Health Department recommends anyone who ate at the St. Charles Portillo’s between April 15 and May 6 and had or currently has symptoms of salmonella poisoning to call the Kane County Health Department at 847-608-2128 or visit a physician.