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Illnesses tied to taste of Chicago reach 491

CBS Channel 2 (Chicago)

July 14, 2007

CHICAGO--Health department officials announced as of noon Saturday a total of 491 people reported becoming ill after eating food from the Pars Cove Persian Cuisine booth at the Taste of Chicago festival.

That number is up from the 378 reported Friday.

Forty-four of the 491 are laboratory-confirmed cases of salmonellosis. Of the 44, 26 have been identified as one of the more common Salmonella serotypes in the United States. A total of 15 people are known to have been hospitalized.

The source of the salmonella outbreak has not been pinpointed as coming from food or food handlers, but only one dish has been tied to illnesses according to a Chicago Department of Public Health news release – hummus shirazi, a fresh herb, tomato and cucumber salad over a bed of hummus.

As a precaution, Pars Cove has been asked to stop serving hummus at its 435 W. Diversey Pkwy. location.

The CDPH said this was the first reported salmonella outbreak at the Taste in 20 years.

The owner of Pars Cove has been cooperating with health officials and said he was surprised by the preliminary findings.

Chicago health officials say they have frequent inspections and rigid food standards for all booths, but note inspectors test for temperature, not microbes.

Since this investigation is ongoing, health officials want anyone who thinks they may have become sick after eating at this booth to give them a call. City of Chicago residents can call 3-1-1. Non-city residents can call the health department hotline at (312) 744-5000.

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