Chili's South Indian Cuisine
Foodborne illness outbreak investigation summary
Posted April 27, 2016
Public Health investigated an outbreak of salmonellosis (caused by Salmonella bacteria) associated with Chili's South Indian Cuisine at 4220 University Way NE in Seattle. Two people from separate meal parties became ill with diarrhea after eating at the restaurant between 12/27/15 and 1/06/16; there were no hospitalizations.
Laboratory testing has indicated that both of the people with lab-confirmed infection had the same strain of Salmonella bacteria. In typical years, fewer than ten infections with this strain are reported in King County.
Public Health received the first report of illness on 1/07/16. The second illness was reported on 1/15/16, and the common restaurant exposure was identified during a case interview on 1/28/16. Public Health performed a field investigation of the restaurant on 2/2/16. Although there were no recent reports of employee illness, our food safety experts requested testing of all employees who had recently traveled outside of the country. Additionally, testing was performed on spices that had been imported from India, because review of nationwide data on this strain suggested a pattern of consumption of Indian foods. Salmonella bacteria were not detected in the restaurant employees or any of the spices tested. The restaurant worked cooperatively with Public Health. Several weeks have passed and Public Health has received no additional reports of illness associated with Chili’s. There is no indication of ongoing risk at this time.
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.
To prevent Salmonella infection:
- 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.
For more information about salmonellosis, see: