Skokie Country Club in Glencoe, Illinois was the site of a large salmonella outbreak–approximately 45 laboratory confirmed cases–in June 2010.  Katie Okon at Pioneer Local reports that the club kitchen is now open and back in service, having been given the green light to reopen by Cook County health officials in early July.   after a salmonella outbreak that occurred at the end of last month.

Skokie Country Club’s salmonella outbreak caused 9 people to be hospitalized, at least amongst the 45 confirmed cases.  At one time in the investigation, health officials indicated that as many as 50 other illnesses were thought to be linked.  Ultimately, Cook County health officials were unable to track the source of the outbreak down to a specific food item. 

Skokie’s salmonella outbreak is just one of several major foodpoisoning outbreaks to have hit the State of Illinois in 2010.  In May and early June 2010, Subway restaurants in 28 Illinois counties were linked to 103 confirmed Salmonella illnesses. Of the confirmed illnesses, 26 people had to be hospitalized. The strain of Salmonella involved in the outbreak is called Hvittingfoss, which is an extremely rare strain of Salmonella typically seen in Illinois only once or twice a year.

The 28 counties having Subway restaurants associated with confirmed Salmonella illnesses are Bureau, Cass, Champaign, Christian, Coles, Dekalb, DeWitt, Fulton, Henry, Kane, Knox, LaSalle, Livingston, Macon, Marshall, McLean, Moultrie, Ogle, Peoria, Rock Island, Sangamon, Schuyler, Shelby, Tazewell, Vermilion, Warren, Will and Winnebago. Illnesses are reported to have started between May 14 and May 25 and cases range in age from six-years to 79-years-old.

The CDC estimates that for every confirmed case of Salmonella infection, another 38.6 cases go unreported. In order for a case to be confirmed, a sick person has to visit their health care practitioner and get a stool test. A positive result is then sent on to the health department, which matches the test to the outbreak strain to see if it is part of the outbreak, or a separate case of Salmonella. Many people try to “tough it out”, and don’t get tested, therefore there cases are never counted. The current outbreak of Salmonella Hvittingfoss probably has more than 3000 people sick.

And on March 4, 2010, a Subway restaurant in Lombard, Illinois closed in the midst of a large Shigella outbreak that ultimately caused at least 125 confirmed illnesses, and likely hundreds of other illnesses. The restaurant remained closed for over a month during the Dupage County health department’s investigation. The results of Dupage County’s investigation have not yet been disclosed, but it is widely suspected that cross-contamination by ill employees was a cause of the outbreak.