September 24, 2021

Possible E. coli Outbreak at Portillo’s Restaurant in Glendale Heights, Illinois

A possible E. coli outbreak at Portillo’s restaurant in Glendale Heights, Illinois may have sickened four people, according to news reports. There is no information about this potential outbreak on the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) website. Portillo’s management has stated that they are cooperating with the investigation.

Possible E. coli Outbreak at Portillo's Restaurant in Glendale Heights, Illinois

The Chicago Tribune reports that IDPH stated in a health alert, “Four cases of a toxin producing the bacteria and one case of a resultant blood syndrome stemmed from customers eating at [the restaurant].”

That most likely means that four people have E. coli infections and one person has developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which is a type of kidney failure. The patients allegedly ate at the restaurant, which is located at 235 East North Avenue in Glendale Heights, on July 16 and 17, 2021. Food Poisoning Bulletin has contacted IDPH but will probably not hear anything until tomorrow.

UPDATE: The Kankakee County Health Department posted this on their Facebook page: “The Illinois Department of Public Health has identified four cases of Shiga toxin producing Escherichia coli (STEC) and one hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) case that report eating at Portillo’s at 235 E. North Ave, Glendale Heights, IL in DuPage County on 07/16/2021 and 07/17/2021.”

The Health Department is telling healthcare providers to be on the lookout for the symptoms of an E. coli infection, especially among people who have recently eaten at that restaurant.

There were several unsolved E. coli outbreaks linked to restaurants in 2020, but they were not solved. The bacteria in one of the outbreaks was closely related to the pathogen linked to a 2018 outbreak caused by consumption of romaine lettuce. But that evidence was not enough to prove a link in the restaurant outbreak. Other E. coli outbreaks linked to restaurants in the past include two outbreaks at Chipotle restaurants in 2015 and one linked to raw clover sprouts at Jimmy John’s in 2012.

Symptoms of an E. coli infection include a mild fever, vomiting, severe and painful abdominal cramps, and diarrhea that is typically bloody or watery. Symptoms of HUS include little urine output, easy bruising, lethargy, pale skin, and bleeding from the nose or mouth.

There is no treatment for this infection; in fact, giving a patient antibiotics may increase the risk of developing HUS. Supportive and palliative care may be necessary and some patients do need to be hospitalized. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should see a doctor immediately, because they may be part of this possible E. coli outbreak at Portillo’s restaurant in Illinois.

Pritzker Hageman Food Safety Lawyers

If you or a loved one have been sickened with an E. coli infection or hemolytic uremic syndrome after eating at Portillo’s restaurant in Glendale Heights, Illinois, please contact our experienced attorneys for help at 1-888-377-8900 or 612-338-0202.

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