The Kankakee County Health Department and Illinois Department of Public Health are investigating an outbreak of Salmonella infections associated with a Cracker Barrel restaurant.

As of May 14, the county department had identified eight people who had eaten food prepared at the restaurant at 50 Ken Hayes Dr. in Bourbonnais with Salmonella infections.

Cracker Barrel voluntarily closed the restaurant on May 4 and is cooperating with the county health department to determine a source of the infections. The department performed an environmental assessment of Cracker Barrel and provided guidance on safe food handling practices and environmental cleaning to prevent further spread of disease.

The county health department has also issued an alert to area physicians about the outbreak, providing medical guidance. 

The county health department is monitoring closely for additional reports of illness. If you experience diarrheal illness after consuming food from this establishment, contact the department at 815-802-9400 option 3 to option 3 to file a 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. Infants, children, seniors, and people with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of serious illness because their immune systems are fragile, according to the CDC.

Anyone who has eaten at the restaurant 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 within 12 to 72 hours after eating contaminated food. Otherwise, healthy adults are usually sick for four to seven days. 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 a 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.