Jan Stapleman, Deputy Director of Communications for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, confirmed to Food Poisoning Bulletin in an email that they are investigating an outbreak of E. coli linked to the Pho 75 restaurant in Aurora.
Four people have been sickened in this outbreak, and one person was hospitalized. The restaurant has been closed by the health department, and the email stated that “there is no continuing threat to the public.” The person who was hospitalized is a teenager whose kidneys started to fail. Thankfully, he is on the mend.
The Tri-County Health Department is asking members of the public to take a short, confidential survey as part of their investigation into the outbreak. Anyone who ate at the restaurant or got take-out between May 24 and June 10, 2016 can take the survey. It will ask questions about what you ate and if you got sick after the meal. They state that it is important that they hear from people who did not get sick to help narrow down the investigation. Investigators are trying to figure out what food caused the outbreak, and hearing from as many people as possible will help.
The restaurant has been cited for many violations in the past few years. Most of the violations are “critical,” meaning that they pose a risk of foodborne illness. Investigators would follow up after a bad inspection, and corrections would be made, but the next inspection would find problems again.
The symptoms of an E. coli infection include mild fever, abdominal cramps and pain, vomiting, and diarrhea that is bloody and/or watery. The illness usually begins three to four days after you are exposed to the bacteria. Most people get better within a week without medical attention. But some patients, especially young children, can develop hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) as a complication from this infection. HUS can destroy the kidneys and cause seizures and death.
The symptoms of HUS include little or no urine output, lethargy, a skin rash, easy bruising, pale skin, and bleeding from the nose or mouth. If these symptoms occur, a doctor should be contacted immediately.