The number of salmonella cases in Madison County has risen. The Health Department says there are now 13 confirmed cases associated to a restaurant in East Alton, Illinois.

Casa Romero Restaurant in East Alton voluntarily closed its doors last Friday after the Madison County Health Department learned of an unusual number of salmonella cases beginning May 23. Health inspectors last visited the restaurant in February and found no glaring problems. But the source is still unknown.

Salmonella has been linked to other restaurants in the past. In 2002, dozens of diners got salmonella poisoning at Roberts All You Can Eat Steak Buffet in north St. Louis. That same year, a dozen people got sick at Laredo’s Mexican restaurant in Fairview Heights, Illinois. Health officials determined the source was likely an employee who spread the bacteria to customers.

Toni Corona of the health department says prevention is quite simple, "You want to cook foods thoroughly. You want to wash hands properly and you want to clean your surfaces very thoroughly after handling a lot of different types of raw food products."