Salmonella outbreak linked to Morgan Park restaurant, health officials say

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Chicago Department of Public Health said it identified a salmonella outbreak linked to a barbecue restaurant in the city's Morgan Park neighborhood.

The CDPH said at least 14 people have been sickened by the bacteria and six had to be hospitalized. In the course of their investigation, they traced the outbreak to Best BBQ in the 1600-block of West 115th Street. Officials said Best BBQ has voluntarily closed and is fully cooperating with the investigation.

According to Best BBQ's website the restaurant has been in business for 30 years, and customers said the outbreak is very surprising.

"This place is quality food. They're very clean. The service is great. I'm super shocked, actually," said Joshua Keys.

"We've had 14 people at this point linked to this particular outbreak. We know there are many more than that who are likely infected. Again, these are only the people who went to the doctor and got the testing done," said Allison Arwady, chief medical officer of the Chicago Department of Public Health.

The I-Team learned that Best BBQ has failed three public health inspections since 2015, most recently in June when mice droppings were discovered. All issues were later resolved and Best BBQ did pass inspection.

The restaurant's owners have not commented on the outbreak.

Health officials said anyone who recently ate at the restaurant and is suffering from salmonella symptoms should see their doctor and inform them they may be infected with salmonella.

Symptoms usually last four to seven days and include nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, fever, chills, headache and bloody stools. Most individuals recover without any treatment, but in some cases diarrhea may be severe enough to require hospitalization. The elderly, infants, and people with impaired immune systems are more likely to have severe illness.
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