Apple Cider Linked to Foodborne Illness Outbreak at Illinois Autumn Festival

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A foodborne illness in Illinois hospitalized several fall festival attendees
Royal gala apples

Wikimedia/David Adam Kess

Health officials say at least 60 people were sickened at the Pike County Color Drive in western Illinois, and apple cider is likely to blame. 

At this time of year it would be difficult for a person to go to a festive fall fair and not give in to the temptation to enjoy a lot of nice, fresh apple cider, but it looks like that might have ruined the festivities for several attendees at an Illinois fair who had to be hospitalized after a mysterious foodborne illness outbreak.

According to The Chicago Tribune, more than 60 people who attended the Pike County Color Drive in western Illinois on October 17 and 18 were stricken with gastrointestinal symptoms after the event. Several of those patients have reportedly been hospitalized.

Apple cider is currently considered the most likely source of the outbreak, but health officials do not yet know what specific kind of illness it is. It could be an outbreak of E. coli, or “a microscopic parasite called cryptosporidium” that infected a batch of cider.

Festival attendees who purchased jugs of cider from vendors at the fair have been asked to notify the health department so the cider can be tested. Also, it’s probably not a good idea to drink it until the source of the outbreak has been found.

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