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Salmonella Outbreak Tied To Best Barbeque, City Health Officials Say

By Howard Ludwig | September 5, 2017 10:51am
 Best Barbeque has been tied to several cases of salmonella, city officials said.
Best Barbeque has been tied to several cases of salmonella, city officials said.
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DNAinfo/Howard Ludwig

MORGAN PARK — Best Barbecue in Morgan Park has been linked to an outbreak of salmonella that struck at least 14 people, according to the Chicago Department of Public Health.

The barbecue restaurant at 1648 W. 115th Street has since closed voluntarily and is cooperating with health officials, according to a written release issued Friday.

The restaurant just west of Interstate 57 remained closed Monday morning with a sign on the door that read, "We are closed temporarily."

The health department urges anyone with symptoms of salmonella poisoning see a doctor. At least six people have been hospitalized related to this outbreak, city officials said.

“This is a serious condition that is treatable,” said Dr. Julie Morita, the commissioner of the health department. The department "is taking every precaution as part of our robust response in order to limit the impact of this outbreak.”

Salmonella is a bacteria that can be treated with antibiotics. Most people infected develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps between 12-72 hours after infection. The symptoms usually last 4-7 days, and most individuals recover without any treatment.

In some cases, diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. In these patients, the salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the blood stream, and then to other body sites.

In those cases, salmonella can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics. The elderly, infants and those with impaired immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness.

The outbreak was detected by city officials conducting ongoing surveillance — reviewing laboratory reports of patients diagnosed with specific diseases. Investigators recognized an uptick in a particular laboratory serotype of salmonella cases and then contacted patients to determine if there were any commonalities between the various cases.

That led to the determination that a number of people with the same kind of salmonella recently ate at Best Barbeque. Working with food inspectors, the restaurant is addressing any possible contamination issues to ensure proper sanitary and health conditions are in place.

They are also providing a list of suppliers to investigate possible concerns with food sources. Area doctors have also been made aware of the outbreak, the health department said.