The shigella outbreak has spread to two other Bay Area counties
after public health officials received additional reports of
patients who were infected by the bacterial disease linked to a
San Jose seafood restaurant.
The San Mateo County Health System confirmed Thursday three
cases of shigella were linked to the San Jose outbreak. Health
officials in Santa Cruz County are investigating suspected cases
The number of patients who reported symptoms associated with the
bacterial infection now exceeds 100, county public health
Santa Clara County health officials say at least 93 cases of
shigella have been reported to the agency. Of those cases, 24
were confirmed to be shigellosis, an infectious diarrheal
disease caused by a group of bacteria called shigella.
The outbreak started over the weekend when dozens of people
reported feeling severely ill after eating at Mariscos San Juan
Restaurant No. 3 in the 200 block of North 4th Street. Many
patients who ate at the restaurant Friday or Saturday required
hospitalization, and 12 needed intensive-care treatment.
The infectious disease spreads when food or water has been
handled by contaminated hands or an infected person.
Produce contaminated by human sewage or by contaminated flies
landing on food can also make people sick, according to the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Flies can breed in
feces contaminated with shigella.
Patients infected with shigella usually start to feel sick one
to two days after they have been exposed. Symptoms of shigella
include diarrhea, fever and abdominal pain. The sickness usually
lasts between five and seven days, but shigella can be fatal in
patients with severe symptoms.
Gregory Meissner -- one of two customers who filed lawsuits
against the restaurant after eating there and becoming ill --
said he ordered a ceviche tostada Friday and woke up the next
morning feeling sick. He was hospitalized until Sunday.
The restaurant has remained closed as health officials
investigate the outbreak.
Santa Clara County public health officials said Wednesday that
they were still receiving reports of shigella cases from
healthcare providers. Health investigators were interviewing and
testing the restaurant’s food handlers.
“People with diarrhea -- even mild -- must not work, especially
food service workers, healthcare providers, and childcare
workers,” the health department said. “Proper and frequent hand
washing is very important in preventing continued spread.”