Infectious Disease in Illinois

Salmonella Multi-State Outbreak

Questions and Answers for Health Care Providers

If a patient in an institution has a febrile, diarrheal illness and a history of eating peanut butter in an institution or peanut butter-containing products, should a stool culture be done?

Persons who have a febrile, diarrheal illness after consumption of these products should be tested for salmonella. If a case is positive for salmonella, the isolate should be sent to the Illinois Department of Public Health laboratory for serotyping and molecular fingerprinting, which will determine if the case is the same genetic strain as the outbreak pattern. Hospital laboratories are asked to promptly report positive salmonella results to the local health department in their area and submit salmonella isolates to the Illinois Department of Public Health laboratory.

If a patient has peanut butter-containing products (such as cookies, crackers, cereal, candy and ice cream), can they eat them?

A searchable list of products and brands associated with the Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) recall can be found on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Web site at If you do not find the product on FDA’s Web site, call the toll-free number on the food package or visit the company’s Web site.

If you cannot determine if the peanut butter-containing products or institutionally-served peanut butter contains PCA peanut butter/peanut paste, it is recommended that the product not be consumed until more information becomes available about which brands may be affected.

If a patient has a recalled peanut butter-containing product, what should they do?

They should not eat the product. The product should be discarded in a manner that prevents others from eating it or returned to the store where it was purchased.

If a patient has recalled peanut butter-containing products, will they be tested?

The Illinois Department of Public Health will only test peanut butter-containing products if a household member or other consumer is a confirmed case of salmonella.

January 2009

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Illinois Department of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
Phone 217-782-4977
Fax 217-782-3987
TTY 800-547-0466
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