Hundreds thought to be affected by outbreak of salmonella in Chicago

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An outbreak of salmonella in Chicago is now thought to have affected almost 500 people.

According to local Health department officials, of 491 people who became ill after eating food at the Taste of Chicago festival, 44 are laboratory-confirmed cases of salmonellosis. and 26 of that number have been identified with one of the more common Salmonella serotypes in the United States.

To date 15 people are known to have been hospitalized.

The salmonella outbreak has been linked to Tahini, a sesame seed paste present in servings of hummus shirazi, a fresh herb, tomato and cucumber salad over a bed of hummus, sold at Pars Cove Persian Cuisine at the food-tasting event.

The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) has asked Pars Cove to stop serving hummus at its 435 W. Diversey Parkway location as a precaution.

The CDPH said this was the first reported salmonella outbreak at the festival in 20 years; the staff of Pars Cove has been cooperating fully with health officials.

Although Chicago health officials carry out frequent inspections and impose rigid food standards on all retailers at the festival, inspectors test only for temperature and not microbes.

CDPH Commissioner Dr. Terry Mason says most of those sickened live in the Chicago area, and the large majority have now recovered.

Chicago health officials are calling for those who may have become sick after eating at the booth to notify the authorities.

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