The Salmonella outbreak at the Fig & Olive in Washington DC’s City Center sickened more than 60 people in five states and the District of Columbia. Case patients were from Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Illinois and Alabama, health officials told Food Poisoning Bulletin today.
The outbreak, which began over Labor Day weekend, may have sickened as many as 150 people. Several people were so sick they required hospitalization.
The DC location was closed for six days for cleaning and staff training. When it reopened, two items were no longer on then menu, truffle fries and mushroom croquettes.
Fig & Olive operates several restaurants in New York, two in California, one in Chicago and one in Washington DC. Health officials in New York City, Chicago and Newport Beach, California told Food Poisoning Bulletin that no illnesses have been reported in association with Fig & Olive restaurants in those locations. But Salmonella illnesses were reported in association with the California restaurant on Melrose Place in West Hollywood.
There are nine confirmed cases and three suspected. Of the confirmed cases, six are patrons and three are employees. Truffle oil is a suspected food source in the California outbreak as well. Fig & Olive makes its own truffle oil.
All food handlers and any symptomatic nonfood handlers at the West Hollywood location were removed from work and asked to submit stool samples. Interviews are ongoing with ill individuals and confirmed cases.
Health officials say anyone who ate at the restaurant and became ill should see a doctor and mention possible exposure to Salmonella. Stool cultures can determine if there is a Salmonella infection.
Symptoms of a Salmonella infection include fever, abdominal cramps, vomiting and diarrhea that can be bloody. Typically, about 20 percent of cases require hospitalization. Some of those will develop a blood infection, which can be life-threatening. Long term consequences of a Salmonella infection include reactive arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, heart disease, high blood pressure, and immunological problems.
Salmonella live in the intestines of animals and cause infection when food contaminated with microscopic amounts of fecal matter is ingested. The contamination can occur in the growing fields, during slaughter or if an infected food handler shows up for work. People with Salmonella infections can still spread disease up to three days after symptoms resolve.
Restaurants are the most common setting for food poisoning outbreaks. This month, in Minnesota, 10 cases of Salmonella poisoning were linked to contaminated cucumbers served at Red Lobster restaurants. And 64 cases of salmonellosis were linked to tainted tomatoes served at Chipotle.