Subway Food Poisoning Outbreak Leads to Shigella Lawsuits in Illinois

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By: Staff Writers | Published: March 22nd, 2010

At least 78 people have fallen ill from a Shigellosis food poisoning outbreak linked to a Chicago-area Subway restaurant. The outbreak has hospitalized 11 people and has already resulted in a number of lawsuits.

According to the DuPage County Health Department in Illinois, at least 78 people have shown signs of being infected by the Shigella bacteria since the beginning of the month. All of the food poisoning victims ate at the Subway restaurant at 1009 E. Roosevelt Road in Lombard between February 24 and March 1. Of the 11 people who have been hospitalized, 10 have been released.

The restaurant was closed as a result of the Shigella outbreak, and remains closed as health investigators continue to look into the cause of the outbreak.

At least three Shigellosis lawsuits have been filed against Neel Subway, Inc., the Subway franchise that owns the restaurant. The lawsuits have all been filed in the DuPage County Circuit Court, and charge the company with strict liability, negligence and breach of warranty.

Shigella is a type of bacteria that is highly infectious and that causes sudden and severe diarrhea in humans. It is most likely to spread from fecal material through food, contaminated water, and person-to-person contact when basic hygiene needs are not met. Symptoms can include:

  • Stomach cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloody Diarrhea
  • Rectal spasms
  • Seizures in children under the age of two

Shigellosis is the third most common form of food poisoning in the U.S. and has been the culprit behind a number of high-profile cruise ship food poisoning incidents in recent years.

There are an estimated 450,000 cases of Shigella poisoning, known as Shigellosis, in the U.S. each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease, Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC estimates that about 50,000 Shigellosis victims are hospitalized in the U.S. every year and about 7,000 die. Young children, the elderly, and people with compromised immune systems are the most at risk.

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