January 25, 2020

Mariscos San Juan Shigella Outbreak Sickens 141

Shigella dysenteriae bacteria - 3d rendered illustrationA 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.

Almost all of those who became ill ate at the San Jose restaurant located at 205 N. 4th Street in San Jose on Friday, October 16 or Saturday, October 17. The origin of the outbreak has not yet been determined. Health officials are expecting results of tests on all food handlers this week.

Most of cases, 118, are from Santa Clara County, the other 23 cases are from Alameda, Santa Cruz and San Mateo counties. Forty nine of the case are lab-confirmed; 35 of those are Santa Clara County residents. All of the cultures have come back as Shigella sonnei, the most common of four species of Shigella.

Ingesting only a few Shigella bacteria can causes an infection called shigellosis which is extremely contagious. It is transmitted vis the fecal-oral route, meaning food contaminated with microscopic amounts of fecal matter containing Shigella bacteria is ingested.

Shigella can be transmitted by those who are sick. Someone infected with shigellosis will have Shigella bacteria in their stools for up to two weeks after their diarrhea has ended. If their hands are not washed properly after using the restroom, anything they touch can become contaminated. When other people touch these items or surfaces, their hands can become contaminated and they can become sick if they touch their food or their mouths.

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.

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