At least 55 people are sick with Salmonella infections after eating food from a Chicago taqueria. Initial reports said 20 people were sick, with ten people hospitalized.

The Chicago Department of Public Health and the Illinois Department of Public Health are investigating the outbreak. The agencies reported that Carniceria Guanajuato voluntarily closed the taqueria on Sept. 8, 2023. The operator is cooperating with health officials to find the source of the Salmonella.

The strain of Salmonella involved is particularly virulent, or the contaminated foods had large amounts of the pathogen because of the high hospitalization rate.

Public health officials are asking people who ate at the taqueria and became ill to seek medical treatment and ask for Salmonella testing. Salmonella infections can mimic other illnesses.

“If you have purchased prepared food from the taqueria or the prepared food section of the grocery store since Aug. 29, 2023, discard it and do not eat it,” according to a public notice issued by the Chicago Health Department. “If you ate food purchased from the prepared food section (taqueria or prepared foods in the grocery section) since Aug. 29, 2023, you may have been exposed to Salmonella.”

The Chicago public health investigators have conducted an environmental assessment of the grocery store and provided employees with safe food handling guidance. The department has alerted area physicians about the outbreak, providing medical guidance.

Public health officials ask anyone who experienced diarrheal illness after consuming foods from this establishment to contact them at to file a confidential suspected food poisoning complaint.

About Salmonella infections
Food contaminated with Salmonella bacteria does not usually look, smell, or taste spoiled. Anyone can become sick with a Salmonella infection. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, infants, children, seniors, and people with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of serious illness because their immune systems are fragile.

Anyone who has eaten food from the implicated taqueria and developed symptoms of Salmonella infection should seek medical attention. Sick people should tell their doctors about the possible exposure to Salmonella bacteria because special tests are necessary to diagnose salmonellosis. Salmonella infection symptoms can mimic other illnesses, frequently leading to misdiagnosis.

Symptoms of Salmonella infection can include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever, usually within 12 to 72 hours after eating contaminated food. However, it can sometimes take several days for symptoms to develop. In some cases, however, diarrhea may be so severe that patients require hospitalization.

Older adults, children, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems, such as cancer patients, are more likely to develop severe illness and serious, sometimes life-threatening conditions.

Some people get infected without getting sick or showing any symptoms. However, they may still spread the infections to others.

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