A Shigella outbreak at the San Jose restaurant has sickened 141 people and reports of additional illness are still coming in, according to public health department. Many people were hospitalized; 12 were admitted to intensive care.
Food can become contaminated if it is handled by someone who has Shigella bacteria on their hands – for example, a food worker who has shigellosis. Flies that breed in infected feces can contaminate food when they land on it. Sometimes, produce becomes contaminated when there is human sewage in growing fields or contaminated irrigation water.
Nationwide, about 500,000 cases of shigellosis are reported each year. It does not have a “season.” Although Shigella can affect people of all ages, young children are at greatest risk. Outbreaks are most often associated with daycare or child care centers
Symptoms of shigellosis usually begin between 24 and 48 hours after exposure. They include diarrhea that can sometimes be bloody, fever, abdominal pain, vomiting and tenesmus, or the painful sensation of needing to pass stools even when bowels are empty.
Symptoms usually last about a week, but it could take several months before bowel habits return to normal. Shigellosis can cause serious illness and death. Patients with severe diarrhea or vomiting can become dehydrated and require immediate medical attention to prevent shock.
Health officials urge anyone who ate at Mariscos San Juan restaurant #3 on 205 N. 4th Street in San Jose on Friday October 16th or Saturday, October 17th, who developed sudden onset of diarrhea and fever within two days of the meal to see a doctor. Mention that you may have been exposed to Shigella. A stool sample can confirm the infection and determine if it is part of the outbreak.