According to the Chicago Tribune, there was a Salmonella outbreak at five schools in Chicago in September. The outbreak appears to be over and the children sickened, who range in age from 7 to 14, have recovered. One child was hospitalized. One of the schools is in Lake County; the other four schools were in northern Cook County. The outbreak began on September 20, 2012.
The public was not notified, although parents of children who attended those schools were told about the illnesses. There is no information about this Salmonella outbreak on either the Cook County Department of Public Health or the Lake County Department of Public Health web sites. The specific strain of Salmonella was not identified.
Public health officials have traced the source of the bacteria to OrganicLife, a vendor for the schools. OrganicLife sent letters to the schools they supply, telling them about the problem and warning them of the symptoms of Salmonella food poisoning. The company is now only allowed to provide hot or prepackaged foods. OrganicLife’s kitchens will be inspected and all food workers tested for Salmonella. They will not be allowed to work until they have two negative Salmonella tests.
The symptoms of Salmonella food poisoning include vomiting, nausea, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, fever, chills, headache, and muscle pains. Complications of this infection can be severe, including Reiter’s syndrome or reactive arthritis, dehydration, and colitis.