Press Release

August 2, 2011


Public Health Alert – 7 Cases of Salmonella in Illinois Linked to Nationwide Outbreak

Ground turkey may be the cause  

SPRINGFIELD, ILL. – The Illinois Department of Public (IDPH), along with local health departments in Illinois, is collaborating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) to investigate a multistate outbreak of Salmonella ser. Heidelberg infections likely caused by eating ground turkey.

A total of 77 people infected with the outbreak strain have been reported from 26 states between March 1 and August 1, 2011. Of the seven cases in Illinois with the same type of Salmonella as the outbreak, at least one person has been hospitalized. Reports of illness started on March 21, 2011 with the last case becoming ill on June 29, 2011. Cases range in age from 3 to 60 years and were reported in Cass, Cook, DuPage Madison, Peoria, Will and Williamson counties.


IDPH is reminding people to follow all food safety recommendations to avoid potential illness. Ground turkey must be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165 ° Fahrenheit to kill Salmonella bacteria. Use a food thermometer to check the temperature as color is not always an indicator of doneness, nor is following cooking instructions on the food package. It’s also important to make sure raw poultry and its juices do not come into contact with produce, cooked foods or food that is ready to eat. After handling raw poultry, make sure to properly wash with soap and water hands, cutting board, plates, knifes and anything used to prepare the raw poultry.

Signs and Symptoms

Most people infected with Salmonella bacteria develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most people recover without treatment. However, for some people, diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. Salmonella infection may spread and can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics. Older adults, infants, and those with impaired immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness from Salmonella infection.

CDC is partnering with state health departments to monitor the outbreak while FSIS focuses its investigation on potential identification of a contamination source(s). Any potential contamination source(s) information will come from the USDA.

The toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Central Time) Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day.

For more information on Salmonella, log onto

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Investigation Update

idph online home
idph online home

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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