Subway Restaurant Shigella Outbreak
On March 1, 2010, the DuPage County Health Department (DCHD) received numerous reports from individuals who complained of severe gastrointestinal illness after eating at the Subway restaurant located at 1009 East Roosevelt Road in Lombard, Illinois.
By 4:00PM on March 1, 2010, DCHD had received reports of at least 15 illnesses associated with the consumption of food from defendant’s Subway restaurant in Lombard, Illinois. Based on this evidence, DCHD closed the Subway restaurant immediately on March 1, 2010, pending an environmental and epidemiological investigation into what was determined to be a Shigella outbreak. Over the next several weeks, DCHD continued to receive additional reports of Shigella infection from Subway patrons who had consumed food prepared at the restaurant between February 23 and March 1, 2010.
DCHD and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) collaborated to finish the Shigella outbreak investigation, and together counted 328 cases of Shigella infection and related illness associated with the consumption of food prepared at the Lombard Subway restaurant.
Investigators from DCHD and IDPH also found that two employees of the defendant’s Subway restaurant tested positive for the same strain of Shigella that caused the outbreak. These individuals had been ill with gastrointestinal symptoms related to their Shigella infections prior to the outbreak. Lawsuits filed on behalf of Shigella outbreak victims alleged that poor hygienic practices by employees ill with Shigella infection caused widespread contamination of patrons’ food.