July 14, 2007
CHICAGO -- The number of people reporting digestive problems after eating at the Pars Cove Persian Cuisine booth at Taste of Chicago last weekend tripled Friday, Health Department officials said.
As of noon Friday, 378 people had called claiming symptoms of salmonella poisoning, up from 126 Thursday, officials said. Thirty-two cases have been confirmed through laboratory analysis as salmonellosis, with more tests pending.
About a dozen have been hospitalized for dehydration, diarrhea or fever.
Officials determined at least one -- and perhaps the only -- source of the bacterial poisoning was a dish of herbs, tomato and cucumber known as hummus shirazi, and ordered Pars Cove to stop serving hummus while a full-scale investigation proceeds.
"The hummus shirazi is implicated -- at least that's one thing that we know now," said Terry Mason, Chicago's commissioner of public health. "But the investigation is not complete."
City officials were quick to caution that the outbreak may not be as widespread as it seems, as symptoms cannot be tied to salmonella without testing.