If you live in the Bay Area, you may want to avoid these restaurants after a shigella outbreak made a number of people seriously ill.
People began falling ill on Monday after reportedly dining at the Mariscos San Juan Restaurant in San Jose, CA. According to a report from CBS, out of 182 illnesses linked to the restaurant, 72 have been confirmed to be cases of shigella, a bacterial infection that causes intestinal irritation and diarrhea.
There are 144 cases of illness in Santa Clara County, and 38 cases in the other four counties, according to public health officials. 55 Santa Clara County residents were confirmed to be infected with shigella, while the other 17 were spread throughout Santa Cruz, Alameda, Marin, and Merced counties.
According to a public health spokeswoman with Alameda County, Sherri Willis, eight adults and one child in the county have been confirmed with the infection.
Three people in Santa Cruz County have tested positive for shigella, though one case was transmitted from a secondary source. There are two other individuals who are suspected of having the disease as well, said Jessica Randolph, a public health spokeswoman with the county.
There were three confirmed cases in San Mateo County, and the count remains unclear in Merced County.
The Mariscos restaurant was closed on October 18, after reports of the illnesses began flooding in from people who had eaten there one or two days prior. Officials from the Santa Clara County Department of Environmental Health reported that the investigation into the restaurant is ongoing. There are two other branches of the restaurant in San Jose, which will remain open for the time being.
Shigella is not a pleasant type of bacteria. According to the Mayo Clinic, shigellosis, an intestinal infection caused by the bacteria, can often result in painful and bloody diarrhea. It can be transmitted through direct contact with the bacteria present in a person’s stool.
Shigella can be transmitted when a child hasn’t properly washed his or hear hands, or when someone providing childcare comes into contact with the bacteria while changing a diaper or helping a child use the toilet. It can also be transmitted by consuming contaminated food, as it was in the recent Bay Area outbreak. Drinking or swimming in contaminated water can also transmit the bacteria.
While kids between the ages of 2 and 4 are the most susceptible to infection from shigella, it can still impact healthy adults. It usually takes around a week for the infection to clear up, but antibiotics may be prescribed in severe cases.
Signs and symptoms typically appear a day or two after a person comes in contact with the bacteria, but it can take up to an entire week to develop. People infected with shigella generally face diarrhea, which often contains blood or mucus, abdominal pains, and fever. Some people exhibit no symptoms, but can still transmit the bacteria for several weeks.
Toddlers, people who live in group housing or stay in close contact with others for extended periods of time, or people who live in areas without access to modern sanitation methods all face higher risks of contracting a shigella infection.
People with the disease can become dehydrated, have seizures, experience rectal prolapse, toxic megacolon, reactive arthritis, and hemolytic uremic syndrome. The disease is far from pleasant, and health officials in the Bay Area are working to determine the source of the contamination and rectify the situation for the restaurant and its customers.