November 18, 2019

Texas Fuego Restaurant Closes, Part of Salmonella Outbreak

Public health officials in Texas named Fuego Tortilla Grill in College Station as the likely source of an ongoing Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak on Friday. The restaurant closed its doors voluntarily. The restaurant is “statistically significant” in the outbreak of S. Typhimurium, Ohio strain, according to public health officials.

SalmonellaThe Brazos County Health Department has been working with the Texas Department of State Health Services since September 2013, investigating about 30 cases of Salmonella food poisoning. Twenty-six of those who are ill are residents or visitors to the county. The other four cases are considered secondary infections, probably from contact with those who are sick. No one has died in this outbreak.

Environmental samples were collected from the restaurant May 13, 2014. Four of the 36 samples tested positive for the rare outbreak strain.

The restaurant is closed for “deep cleaning” and is expected to open later today. Management is making some changes in the ingredients they use, including switching to liquid eggs, which are pasteurized, instead of whole eggs. Officials believe that the eggs may be the source of the pathogenic bacteria.

Symptoms of a Salmonella infection, which are often caused by undercooked or raw eggs, include stomach and abdominal cramps, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. The illness can last up to a week. Most people get better without medical treatment, but some need to be hospitalized for dehydration. If a Salmonella infection becomes systemic, serious complications can occur, including reactive arthritis, blood infections, and heart disease.

To prevent illness, never eat undercooked or raw eggs, undercooked ground beef or chicken, and always cook chicken to 160°F. Wash your hands thoroughly after using the bathroom, before eating or preparing food, and after handling raw meats and eggs.

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