The number of people sickened by a bacterial disease connected with a San Jose restaurant continues to grow and has expanded to five counties, Santa Clara County public health officials announced Monday.
Shigella, an intestinal diarrhoeal disease, has been confirmed in 72 of 182 ill people linked with Mariscos San Juan #3 restaurant at 205 N. Fourth St., public health officials said.
Two San Jose men who ate at the restaurant and caught shigella filed separate lawsuits last week alleging negligence against the restaurant owners. The suits were filed through Rains Lucia Stern in California and Marler Clark, a Seattle-based firm specializing in food-borne illness litigation.
The total breaks down to 144 cases in Santa Clara County and 38 across the other four counties, public health officials said.
Of the 72 people with the infection, 55 are in Santa Clara County while the remaining 17 are in Santa Cruz, Alameda, Marin and Merced counties, according to public health officials.
Eight adults and a child in Alameda County have been confirmed with the infection, Alameda County public health spokeswoman Sherri Willis said.
In Santa Cruz County, three people have been found with shigella, one being through a secondary source, and two others are suspected to have the illness, county public health spokeswoman Jessica Randolph said.
San Mateo County Health System officials have reported three confirmed cases of shigella.
Numbers from Merced County were not immediately available Monday morning.
The restaurant was closed on Oct. 18 after a majority of the sick people ate there one or two days earlier. Inspectors from the Santa Clara County Department of Environmental Health continue to investigate the outbreak.
Two other branches of the restaurant on Willow Street and Senter Road remain open.
Symptoms of shigella include a sudden onset of diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain and vomiting that can appear within one to two days of exposure, public health officials said.
The symptoms can continue for five to seven days and people can expect to make a full recovery, but their bowel habits won’t return to normal for months, according to public health officials.
Someone with shigella can spread the disease by making direct contact or preparing food or drink that is consumed, public health officials said.
To prevent the spread of the disease, people are advised to wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, public health officials said.