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AT-A-GLANCE

  • Cases: 3
  • Hospitalizations: 0
  • Deaths: 0
  • Status: Investigation is complete
  • Location: Chili's South Indian Cuisine, 4220 University Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105
  • Meal dates: September 17 and 23, 2022
  • Prior food safety inspections and current rating?

Highlights

Updated November 14, 2022

Summary

Public Health investigated an outbreak of salmonellosis (caused by Salmonella bacteria) associated with Chili's South Indian Cuisine in Seattle. We did not identify how Salmonella was spread within the restaurant. This is not uncommon because Salmonella can spread through contaminated food items, environmental surfaces, and from person to person.

Illnesses

Since October 6, 2022, three people from two separate meal parties reported becoming ill after consuming food from Chili's South Indian Cuisine in Seattle on September 17, 2022 and September 23, 2022. All the people developed one or more symptoms consistent with salmonellosis, including diarrhea, abdominal cramping, nausea, and vomiting. We did not identify any ill employees.

Public Health actions

Public Health conducted interviews with the people ill with salmonellosis to identify potential common exposures and identified that they all became ill after eating food from Chili’s South Indian Cuisine.

Environmental Health Investigators visited the restaurant on October 19, 2022. Investigators identified sanitizing issues, potential cross contamination, inadequate hand washing, and lack of proper access to handwashing stations. Corrective actions were taken during the inspection. On November 8, 2022, Environmental Health Investigators revisited the facility and ensured proper compliance with food handling practices.

No ill employees were identified at the time of inspection. Investigators reviewed with restaurant management the requirement that ill staff are not allowed to work until they are symptom-free. Investigators provided education about preventing the spread of Salmonella – including preventing cross contamination, proper cooling methods, sanitizing procedures and handwashing.

Laboratory testing

Two of the cases had confirmatory testing indicating infections with Salmonella via culture. Both cases had the same strain of Salmonella, based on genetic fingerprinting (whole genome sequencing or WGS) at the Washington State Public Health Laboratory. The third case did not have confirmatory testing but had symptoms consistent with Salmonellosis and is epidemiologically linked.

On October 19, 2022, environmental samples were collected from the restaurant and tested at Washington State Public Health Laboratory. Salmonella was not found in samples from the facility.

Report possible foodborne illness

About Salmonella

Salmonellosis is a bacterial infection that is often spread through the fecal-oral route, through contaminated food and water, or through contact with animals and their environments. Symptoms of salmonellosis include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, fever, chills, and abdominal cramping. Illness typically lasts several days and people can spread infection to others even after symptoms resolve.

Ill persons with a suspected Salmonella infection should not work in food handling, patient care, or childcare while having vomiting or diarrhea.

Prevention

  • Wash hands with soap and water after going to the bathroom, changing diapers, touching animals, and before eating or preparing food.
  • Cook all meats thoroughly, especially poultry.
  • Wash cutting boards and counters used for meat or poultry preparation immediately after use to avoid cross contaminating other foods.

More information about STEC:

Link/share this page at www.kingcounty.gov/outbreak/chilis