Chicago-area salmonella outbreak linked to ground beef

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An outbreak of salmonella infections in the Chicago area has been linked to ground beef, the Illinois Department of Public Health said Wednesday.

Health officials have identified 26 confirmed cases in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties, the department said. Those people fell ill between April 25 and May 18.

The source of the contaminated meat has not yet been identified, but health officials urged residents to follow safe food handling steps when preparing and eating ground beef, which should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit (71, 11 degrees Celsius) and checked with a food thermometer.

A small number of salmonella cases in other states are also being investigated by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state health departments, the Illinois agency said.

Symptoms of salmonella infections often include diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps. Some people may also experience nausea, vomiting, or a headache. Symptoms can last from four to seven days.

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