The Illinois Department of Health on Tuesday confirmed 97 cases of salmonella poisoning across Illinois from mid-May thru early June; all have recovered since. One of the victims, a woman from Bolingbrook, filed a lawsuit against the chain on Monday, citing that Subway failed to prevent the outbreak. A rare type of salmonella, hvittingfoss, has been identified as being responsible for the outbreak. Officials have not yet determined the cause.
In a news release, state public health director Dr. Damon T. Arnold assured that the department was working together with local health organizations to prevent more people from becoming sick. "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," Arnold said.
There have been several food handlers at various Subway locations that have since tested positive for salmonella hvittingfoss.
Generally, those infected with salmonella will experience fever, diarrhea, and severe stomach cramps within 12 to 72 hours; these symptoms will last from 4 to 7 days. Most will recover on their own.
In certain cases, such as the elderly, very young children, and those with compromised immune systems, severe complications can develop. Medical attention should be sought if the symptoms last for a couple of days, if there are bloody stools, or if the patient suffers from a high fever. The patient should also be monitored for signs of dehydration.
Sometimes a healthy individual who has contracted salmonella poisoning will assume it to be a stomach ache. Caution should be heeded as this individual can pass the bacteria to other individuals through food preparation or other chores. Always wash your hands thoroughly to minimize the spread of this bacteria.
Subway has voluntarily disposed of all produce involved within the date range, replacing it with new produce.
In an unrelated incident earlier this spring, 125 confirmed cases of shigellosis were linked to a Lombard Subway. The DuPage County of Health shut the location down while conducting an investigation; results have yet to be released.