The St. Clair County Health Department is investigating a Salmonella Newport outbreak that has sickened people who attended the Belleville Chili Cook-off on October 8, 2016. That event was held on October 7 and 8 in downtown Belleville, Illinois. More than 60 vendors attended the event. Those sickened live in multiple Illinois counties of St. Clair, Madison, and Lake, and one ill person lives in Missouri.
The press release does not state how many people have been sickened in this outbreak, or if anyone has been hospitalized. The cluster of patients all have a matching PFGE pattern of JJPX01.0381. There is also no mention of possible sources of the bacteria, or how the health department is investigating the outbreak.
The county is asking that all local health departments should ask all persons newly diagnosed with Salmonella Newport whether or not they traveled to St. Clair County or attended that Cook-off before they got sick. And labs are asked to promptly report and submit Salmonella isolates to the Illinois Department of Public Health laboratory for confirmation and pulsed field-gel electrophoresis analysis to see if those cases match the outbreak strain.
The symptoms of a Salmonella infection include sudden onset of diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever, nausea, and vomiting. People usually become sick six to seventy-two hours after exposure to the pathogenic bacteria. While most people get better in a few days or a week, some can be ill longer, and some people must be hospitalized because their illnesses are so severe.
If you attended the Belleville Chili Cook-off and have experienced these symptoms, please see your doctor. A Salmonella infection can be serious and can have long term complications, including Reiter’s syndrome, which can cause reactive arthritis, high blood pressure, and irritable bowel syndrome.