At least 65 people are now sick in an E. coli outbreak associated with Carbon Live Fire Mexican Grill in Bridgeport, Illinois, according to the Chicago Tribune. The restaurant is closed while public health officials investigate this outbreak. Twenty of those sickened have been hospitalized because their illnesses are so severe.
Officials have not discovered the cause of this outbreak. Public health inspectors have tested many food and environmental samples from the restaurant and have tested staff members. The health department has not posted an update on the outbreak investigation since July 1, 2016. And there is no word on any possible source for the pathogenic bacteria.
The symptoms of an E. coli infection include a mild fever, severe abdominal and stomach cramps, and diarrhea that may be bloody or watery. Some people also suffer from nausea and vomiting. Symptoms usually appear a few days after exposure to the pathogenic bacteria.
A lawsuit was filed last week against Carbon Live Fire Mexican Grill on behalf of a person sickened in this outbreak. She ate two chicken tacos and two steak tacos on June 25, 2016. By June 30, she was very ill. She was hospitalized because her illness was so severe.
If anyone who ate at that restaurant recently has experienced the symptoms of an E. coli infection, they should seek medical attention. This type of infection can develop into a serious complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) if it is improperly treated with antibiotics or anti-diarrheal medications. Small children under the age of five are also more likely to develop this complication when they have an E. coli infection.
The symptoms of HUS include little or no urine output, lethargy, fatigue, easy bruising, a skin rash, and bleeding from the nose and/or mouth. Shiga toxins produced by the bacteria destroy red blood cells, which can travel to the kidneys. This complication can destroy the kidneys and may be life-threatening, causing seizures, strokes, and coma. Anyone suffering from these symptoms should be taken to a doctor immediately. Those most likely to develop HUS include children under the age of five and anyone with health complications or a compromised immune system.