SPRINGFIELD — Illinois public health officials say about 100 cases of salmonella have been tied to illegally made Mexican-style cheese.
The Illinois Department of Public Health issued a warning Thursday. Officials say the cases are across 13 counties and have been reported by local health departments since 2012. They say cheese obtained from an ill person’s home tested positive for salmonella. Health officials say patients in a third of the cases were hospitalized.
Vermilion County is among the county health departments across the state reporting the salmonella cases. Doug Toole, spokesman for the Vermilion County Health Department, confirmed that the county has encountered one case thus far. It was reported during the summer of 2013.
Other health departments reporting the salmonella cases are Boone, Cook (including the city of Chicago), DuPage, Fayette, Kane, Lake, LaSalle, Macon, Marion, McHenry, Washington and Will counties. The average age of people who have become ill is nine-years-old and a third of all the cases have been hospitalized.
Investigators are trying to determine the cheese manufacturer. They say many cases reported eating cheese obtained from worksites, factories, train stations and street vendors. The cheese is not labeled and is often wrapped in aluminum foil.
IDPH recommends Illinoisans not eat cheese if they can’t clearly identify if the product was made by a licensed or regulated manufacturer.