May 16, 2010: Salmonella Outbreak May Be Linked To Portillo’s

Illinois Public Health officials and the Kane County Health Department are investigating an outbreak of Salmonella serotype Typhimurium food poisoning cases.  To date, 13 cases have been confirmed, with nine of those sickened reporting that they had eaten at Portillo’s Restaurant in St. Charles during the month of April.

So what are health officials doing to protect the public?  According to a Kane County Health Department press release, although Portillo’s may be linked to the Salmonella outbreak, health officials have not identified a possible food source.  Food samples are being tested and restaurant workers will be required to submit stool samples to determine if any of the employees are infected with the pathogen.  Restaurant workers will not be permitted report to work unless two consecutive stool samples test negative for Salmonella.  In addition, the restaurant was sanitized last week.

In order to link a food poisoning case to an outbreak, laboratory scientists look for matching Pulsed Field Gel Electrophoresis (PFGE) patterns among the Salmonella isolates obtained from potential outbreak victims.  PFGE is commonly referred to as DNA finger printing.  Matching PFGE patterns, or matching bacterial DNA, link individuals to a particular outbreak.

To learn more about the symptoms of Salmonella food poisoning please see Salmonella Symptoms, or visit our additional website dedicated to food poisoning at