The Salmonella outbreak at the Skokie Country Club in Glencoe, IL remains the top priority for the Cook County Department of Public Health.

Cook County has identified the strain involved as Salmonella enteritidis, one of the most common strains of Salmonella.

Currently, there are 29 laboratory-confirmed cases including seven hospitalizations associated with this outbreak. Health Department officials continue to follow-up on more than 50 additional reports of gastrointestinal illness from individuals who ate at the country club.

The club has closed it kitchen facilities pending the outcome of the investigation.

“Our agency was notified and we opened an investigation on June 24, 2010,” Health Department spokesman Stephen A. Martin, Jr., said. “Salmonella is a serious disease. We have been working closely with Skokie Country Club officials to conduct the investigation. The club officials have been cooperative and have voluntarily closed their kitchen facilities to aid in controlling the spread of illness.”

Salmonella is a bacterial infection that in most cases causes diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. Most affected individuals recover within four to seven days without treatment.

However, infants, the elderly and persons who have a weakened immune system are at higher risk for a more severe illness that may require hospitalization.

Persons who have experienced diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps, and had exposure to food or drinks at the Skokie Country Club between June 10 and June 24, 2010 should contact the Cook County Department of Public Health Communicable Disease Prevention and Control Unit at 708-492-2150.

Here’s some advice from Cook County health officials:

-Cooking food thoroughly, cleaning kitchen surfaces, and good personal hygiene play a vital role in the prevention of Salmonella infections.

-People should not eat raw or undercooked eggs, poultry, or meat.

-Uncooked meats should be kept separate from produce, cooked foods, and ready-to-eat foods.

-Hands, cutting boards, counters, knives, and other utensils should be washed thoroughly after touching uncooked foods.

-People who have Salmonella should not prepare food or pour water for others until their diarrhea has resolved.

-People should wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water after using the bathroom.

For more information, please contact the Cook County Department of Public Health at 708-492-2000 or visit the Health Department’s Website.