San Jose seafood outbreak sickens 80

A Mexican seafood restaurant in San Jose has been connected to 80 people falling ill and more than a dozen people developing Shigella, an infectious diarrhoeal disease, in addition to five suspected cases in Santa Cruz County, officials announced Tuesday.

The 80 people in Santa Clara County have developed a fever, abdominal pain and diarrhea after eating at Mariscos San Juan at 205 N. Fourth St. on Friday or Saturday, public health officials said.

The number includes a small wave of people with secondary infections, county health officer and public health director Dr. Sara Cody said.

There are also five suspected cases of Shigella in Santa Cruz County that may be linked with the restaurant, county health officer Dr. Lisa Hernandez said.

The five individuals are either in the hospital or recovering at home as of late this afternoon, Hernandez said.

In Santa Clara County, a majority of the ill needed hospitalization and a dozen people were sent to an intensive care unit, according to public health officials.

It is not clear how many of those sent to the ICU remain there, Cody said.

Laboratory tests have confirmed at least 15 of the Santa Clara County cases were Shigella and more results are expected to see if there are more people with the bacterial disease, public health officials said.

The restaurant was closed on Sunday by Santa Clara County public and environmental health officials.

Investigators are looking into what caused the contamination and suspect the disease might have spread through an ill food handler, according to public health officials Symptoms of shigellosis develop one to two days after exposure and last for about five to seven days, according to public health officials.

Most people who suffer from Shigella make a full recovery but it can take months before their bowel habits return to normal, public health officials said.

The disease is spread when people eat or drink something that came into contact with the stool of a person with Shigella, public health officials said.

Cody said in a statement:

“We urge anyone who is ill to seek medical care and to take steps to not spread the infection further. Meticulous hand washing by those who are sick is critical. …¬†Our thoughts are with those who are sick as we work to prevent any further illnesses.”