February 22, 2020

El Rey Del Taco Bistek Tacos Associated with Outbreak

According to news reports and the Cameron County Health Department, a food poisoning outbreak at El Rey del Taco in Brownsville, Texas has been associated with Bistek tacos. Those are tacos made with onions, flank steak, and green chile.

El Rey del Taco Food Poisoning Outbreak

At least 33 people were sickened in this outbreak. Public health officials have not named the pathogen responsible for these illnesses, but did says that the illnesses were caused by “microbial toxins.”

Bacteria that produce toxins that make people sick within a short amount of time include Clostridium perfringens and Bacillus cereus. Both of these pathogens produce toxins when they are present in large quantities of food, particularly meat and gravy, that is not properly cooled or not properly reheated. Most of the outbreaks caused by those two pathogens occur in restaurants or institutions such as hospitals, nursing homes, and schools.

About 30 patients sickened in this outbreak went to Valley Regional Medical Center, Baptist Medical Center-Brownsville, and Exceptional Emergency Center on January 30, 2019 with symptoms of nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. All recovered shortly after treatment. No one was admitted to the hospital.

Dr. James V. Castilloe II, of the Cameron County Health Authority, told The Monitor “We received reports of 33 people who were seen at local emergency rooms and that prompted an epidemiological investigation which consisted of interviews with those affected, review of medical records and food sample testing.┬áThe majority of individuals reported experiencing nausea, vomiting and diarrhea within hours of their meal.”

Public health officials say that this outbreak is not an ongoing threat to the public. The restaurant was closed briefly, but has since reopened.

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