From an Illinois Department of Public Health press release.

To help prevent a secondary outbreak of Salmonella serotype Hvittingfoss associated with SUBWAY® restaurants in the state, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is requiring food handlers in 46 restaurants currently linked to the outbreak, to have two consecutive test results that are negative for Salmonella serotype Hvittingfoss before being allowed to return to work. Food handlers infected with salmonellosis (illness caused by Salmonella bacteria), can inadvertently pass the bacteria to restaurant patrons, causing them to become sick.

“The Illinois Department of Public Health is working closely with local health departments to help protect the people of Illinois from becoming sick from Salmonella,” state public health director Dr. Damon T. Arnold said. “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.”

IDPH today reported several food handlers at certain SUBWAY® restaurant locations in Illinois have tested positive for Salmonella serotype Hvittingfoss. As part of the ongoing investigation of Salmonella illness among customers who report eating at certain SUBWAY® restaurants in Illinois, IDPH has been working closely with local health departments across the state and the SUBWAY® restaurant chain to test employees working at the 46 locations where illness has currently been linked.

"The SUBWAY® brand has stringent hand washing and sanitation procedures; as well as requirements for store staff to use gloves during food preparation and handling. As soon as the SUBWAY® brand learned of the IDPH investigation, the brand voluntarily removed all produce suspected by the health department from each store. The brand is committed to cooperating with IDPH as it works to pinpoint the exact cause of the outbreak,” said Thomas J. Coba, Chief Operations Officer, SUBWAY® restaurant chain.

As of today, IDPH is reporting 90 cases of Salmonella serotype Hvittingfoss associated with the outbreak linked to Subway. All 90 people are recovering, including 25 who had been hospitalized. At this point in the investigation, Salmonella cases identified in this outbreak reported eating at SUBWAY® locations in 28 counties, including Bureau, Cass, Champaign, Christian, Coles, DeKalb, DeWitt, Ford, Fulton, Henry, Knox, LaSalle, Livingston, Macon, Marshall, McLean, Moultrie, Ogle, Peoria, Rock Island, Sangamon, Schuyler, Shelby, Tazewell, Vermilion, Warren , Will and Winnebago.

Confirmed cases have reported eating at restaurants between May 5 and June 4, 2010. Cases range in age from two-years to 79-years-old.

A specific food source has not been identified in association with this outbreak. The Department continues to work closely with the Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the SUBWAY® Corporation and local health departments throughout the state to identify the source and prevent future illness.

The specific type of Salmonella involved in this outbreak is an uncommon serotype called Hvittingfoss. Typically, only one or two cases of this type of Salmonella are seen in Illinois each year.

Symptoms of salmonellosis (illness caused by Salmonella bacteria) include diarrhea, vomiting, fever and/or stomach cramps. Illness usually develops within six to 72 hours after being exposed to Salmonella bacteria, however, the onset of illness in this outbreak has occurred after 72 hours in some cases. Illness generally lasts three to seven days. Some individuals who are infected may have no symptoms, but may still transmit the Salmonella bacteria to others. The spread of Salmonella from person to person may be avoided by careful hand washing with soap and water, particularly after using the bathroom.