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Chicago BBQ restaurant closes amidst Salmonella outbreak

The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) has identified a new Salmonella outbreak that has sickened at least 14 people, six of whom have required hospitalization.

The CDPH investigation links the outbreak to Best BBQ Ribs at 1648 W. 115th St. in Chicago. Best BBQ closed voluntarily today at CDPH’s request and is fully cooperating with authorities, according to the outbreak announcement from the department.

CDPH recommends that anyone who recently ate at the restaurant and is suffering symptoms should see a medical provider and inform them of the possibility of Salmonella poisoning.

“This is a serious condition that is treatable,” said CDPH Commissioner Dr. Julie Morita. “Anyone who believes they may be symptomatic and ate at this restaurant should see their medical provider immediately. CDPH is taking every precaution as part of our robust response to limit the impact of this outbreak.”

Antibiotics are used to treat infections from the Salmonella bacteria. Most victims develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps between 12 and 72 hours after exposure.

Salmonella symptoms usually last four to seven days, and most individuals recover without any treatment.

In some cases, diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs hospital care. In these patients, the Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the blood stream, and then to other parts of the body. In these cases, Salmonella can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics. The elderly, young children and those with impaired immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that Salmonella causes approximately 1 million illnesses and 450 deaths in the United States each year.

The Chicago barbecue outbreak was detected by CDPH officials’ 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 cases.

This led to the determination that some individuals with a single Salmonella serotype recently ate at the restaurant in question.

The restaurant is working with CDPH to address any possible contamination issues, to ensure sanitary and health conditions are in place. Best BBQ Ribs is also providing CDPH with a list of suppliers to investigate potential concerns with food sources. CDPH has also issued an alert to area physicians of the outbreak, providing medical guidance.

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