In a move that more restaurants can learn from, according to news reports, the Subway restaurant chain issued an apology Wednesday in connection with a salmonella outbreak that has affected 80 people across 26 Illinois counties. As state health investigators continue working to pinpoint the cause of the outbreak, a Subway corporate spokesman said the company was sorry for the problems.

"We sincerely apologize to all Subway customers, those who have fallen ill, and those who now may hesitate to come back for a while," spokesman Kevin Kane noted. "We are truly sorry for the difficulty this situation has caused you, our customer, and are working diligently to solve this mystery and to regain your trust."

The Illinois Department of Public Health says people began getting sick after eating in Subway restaurants beginning May 11. As of Tuesday, reports of illness have come from Bureau, Cass, Champaign, Christian, Coles, DeKalb, DeWitt, Fulton, Henry, Knox, LaSalle, Livingston, Macon, Marshall, McLean, Moultrie, Ogle, Peoria, Sangamon, Schuyler, Shelby, Tazewell, Vermilion, Warren, Will and Winnebago.

The strain of salmonella involved in the outbreak is an uncommon variety called Hvittingfoss. Typically, only one to two cases of this type of salmonella are seen in Illinois per year, the health department noted. Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, fever and stomach cramps. Illness usually develops within six to 72 hours after being exposed to Salmonella bacteria and generally lasts three to seven days.

The next issue is if Subway will willingly pay for medical bills and lost wages?