According to the latest reports, 182 have believed to have fallen ill due to the exposure to the bacteria.
The restaurant was closed by health officials after a local hospital cared for five individuals who had been exposed to Shingella after eating at the San Jose location. Now, health officials are investigating whether one of the San Jose seafood restaurant’s employees is responsible for the outbreak.
The first cases were related to consumers in Santa Clara county. As several were admitted to intensive care units, other cases were also reported in other counties such as San Mateo, Alameda, and Santa Cruz. Now, Merced and Marin counties have also reported some cases.
So far, 182 cases of Shigella related illnesses were reported. Out of the 182 incidents, 144 come from Santa Clara county. At least 72 of these cases were confirmed through laboratory tests.
As the number of consumers exposed to the bacteria continues to grow, many believe that things will get much worse before they get better.
Shigella is contagious, making the exposure to the bacteria highly dangerous to the elderly, children, and those with weakened immune systems. Mariscos San Juan’s other two locations remain open, but their owners haven’t been responding any requests to discuss the incident with the media.
According to many reports, this is the second time a major Shigella outbreak hits the Bay area in the past two decades.
In 2000, one person died and hundreds of others fell ill after being exposed to Shigella. Then, the outbreaks were traced back to a restaurant known as Viva Mexico, located in Redwood City.
This incident serves as a reminder that restaurants should do everything in their power to ensure food safety. Food handlers, servers, and all other employees should make sure they follow important health codes by washing their hands thoroughly with soap and warm water every time they go to the bathroom. According to initial investigations, this outbreak has been associated with a potential food handler who may have failed to wash their hands properly. Others should learn from this experience by making sure that this type of outbreak doesn’t happen again.
For more information on the growing number of infected patients, follow this link to read the full report.