It’s yet unknown how, but a Shigella outbreak linked to San Jose restaurant has sent hundreds of people ill to the hospitals. The infectious disease is spreading more rapidly, and has seen to several reports across the country. Previously, states such as Kansas City were affected, but now it has moved on to California.
Patients who ate at Mariscos in San Juan between October 16th and October 17th contracted Shigella, or reported themselves as “severely ill” at the hospital. The latest outbreak has seen to a worrying 141 cases, among which 49 are lab confirmed. Within the high numbers, 118 of these are in Santa Clara County, and the remaining 23 in neighboring counties.
Shigella is a highly infectious disease that can be spread due to an infected person handling the food or water. Its symptoms can start from one to two days after exposure, and can last between 5-7 days with uncomfortable consequences. More specifically, patients infected with the bacteria experience watery or bloody diarrhea, fever, and abdominal pain.
This is particularly dangerous when the person with Shigella works in the food industry, or child daycare.
The most recent outbreak in California counties has, thus, been linked to the Mexican seafood restaurant. Nearly all the patients who contracted the disease reported themselves to have dined at the popular joint. In lieu of their reports, the restaurants has shut down so that investigation may continue.
According to Dr. Sara Cody , a Santa Clara County Health Officer, it appears that some of the patients have contracted the disease through a secondhand source, such as a restaurant patron. However, it’s difficult to pin point the blame. The most suggested theory is that a worker, be it waiter or cook, at the restaurant may have reported to work while infectious.
Health officials recommend anyone with the symptoms to report themselves as ill, not go to work, and should be particularly cautious around children. Furthermore, patients with Shigella should certain stay away from preparing food. It may take a week to recover, but apparently it would require months for their bowels to return to a natural rhythm.
Both patients and the non-infected population are warned to regularly wash their hands. This is especially important for those who commonly handle meals. It would prevent further spreading of the disease, and assure the safety of both themselves and their families.
However, the bacteria may also be carried by flies who breed in the contaminated feces. This could be traced back to various sources, such as tomatoes, airplane food, or, as it was in the case of California, restaurant food.
Read more about the Shigella outbreak in Kansas City here.
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