As lawsuits commence, the Dupage County Health Department continues to receive reports of illness linked to the Lombard, Illinois Subway restaurant that is at the epicenter of a major shigella outbreak. Spokesperson David Hass recently stated that lab tests have confirmed 21 illnesses in the outbreak. At least seven people have been hospitalized.
We have been contacted by 12 families now seeking representation due to illness amongst family members. Of those, several have been confirmed by stool tests as outbreak cases, but many have not. The reality of any foodpoisoning outbreak, no matter the bacteria and no matter the food vehicle, is that many more people than simply the confirmed cases were sickened.
In fact, some estimates indicate that the number of people sickened in foodpoisoning outbreaks is actually 20 or even 30 times the number of "confirmed cases." These additional "cases" of illness may not have had a stool sample tested; they may not have had medical attention at all; or they may have received antibiotics prior to submitting the stool test. Whatever the case, they are no less outbreak cases than the "confirmed cases."
How many people are actually ill in the Lombard, Subway outbreak? The math is a little scary. 21 X 30 equals . . . a lot of sick people.