The shigella outbreak linked to the Mariscos San Juan No. 3 restaurant at 205 North 4th Street in San Jose, California has grown again. As of October 27, 2015, there are 190 people sick. Ninety-two patients have been lab confirmed.
So far, people living in Santa Clara, San Mateo, Alameda, Santa Cruz, Main, and Mercid counties are sick. Almost all of those sickened ate at the restaurant on Friday, October 16 or Saturday October 17, 2015.
People contract a shigella infection by coming into contact with an infected person, by touching a surface contaminated with feces containing the bacteria, or by consuming food or beverages contaminated with infected feces. Shigella bacteria are very contagious, so secondary infections are almost certain to occur.
Shigella bacteria cause an illness called shigellosis. The symptoms of this food poisoning illness start one to two days after exposure. Symptoms include diarrhea that can be bloody, fever, and abdominal pain. Most people recover without medical treatment within about a week, although it may take months before their GI tract returns to normal.
It only takes a few bacteria to make someone very sick. This bacteria is spread by the fecal-oral route. The amount of feces that carry enough bacteria to make you sick is too small to be seen with the naked eye.
This illness can be very serious and can be fatal. People at most risk for serious complications from a shigella infection include children, the elderly, and people with chronic illnesses or compromised immune systems. Dehydration or shock are some complications. The disease can become very serious very quickly. Many people were hospitalized in this outbreak, and at least twelve people had to be admitted to intensive care.
Shigella bacteria can produce shiga toxins, which can cause hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). HUS attacks the kidneys, causing kidney failure and sometimes death. Shigellosis can be treated with antibiotics, but care is needed, because sometimes antibiotics increase the risk of HUS development. The symptoms of HUS include pale skin, easy bruising, a rash, little or no urine output, and lethargy. Anyone experiencing those symptoms should see a doctor immediately.
The restaurant has been closed since October 18, 2015. Public health officials are interviewing employees and have taken environmental samples. The restaurant will remain closed until further notice. The owner and employees are cooperating with the investigation, according to the Santa Clara Public Health Department. All food handlers have been tested for shigella.
If you ate at the Mariscos San Juan No. 3 restaurant in mid-October and have experienced the symptoms of shigellosis, see your doctor. Public officials are interviewing patients. Your clues about what you ate at the restaurant may help solve this outbreak.
To prevent the spread of this disease, it’s critical that everyone wash their hands carefully, especially after going to the bathroom, changing a diaper, or caring for someone who is sick with diarrhea. Always wash your hands well with soap and water before preparing or serving food for others. And stay home from work and school if you have a diarrheal illness.