Shigella Outbreak: New Confirmed Cases Outside of Santa Clara County - NBC Bay Area
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Shigella Outbreak: New Confirmed Cases Outside of Santa Clara County

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The number of Shigella cases linked to a San Jose seafood restaurant has now spread outside of Santa Clara County, health officials said late Wednesday. Michelle Roberts reports. (Published Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015)

    A Shigella outbreak traced back to a San Jose restaurant is growing even bigger, spreading outside of Santa Clara County and into two other Bay Area counties.

    The San Mateo County Health Department on Wednesday confirmed two cases of Shigella, adding to the 24 confirmed cases in Santa Clara County.

    The number of cases may continue to climb as the bacteria spreads. Health officials in Santa Cruz County said they are currently investigating five "suspected cases" of Shigella that may be linked to San Jose.

    Mariscos San Juan No. 3, the restaurant where customers allegedly contracted the bacteria, remains closed. The owner has declined several requests for comment from NBC Bay Area.

    In Santa Clara County, health officials said 93 people have displayed symptoms of the intestinal infection – diarrhea, vomiting and fever. Laboratory tests have confirmed 24 of those people of having Shigella, according to Santa Clara County Deputy Health Officer Dr. George Han. At least two have filed lawsuits against the restaurant.

    The "vast majority" of those sickened ate at Mariscos San Juan, Han said.

    Han and Environmental Health Director of Consumer Protection Division Michael Balliet are urging people to wash their hands thoroughly. Food is often contaminated with Shigella if it is prepared by someone whose hands may have come in contact with fecal matter.

    The restaurant in question is one of three Mariscos San Juan restaurants in San Jose. The original location on Willow Street had its permit suspended in August, county records show. The second restaurant, on Senter Road, has not been cited this year. The third, located at 205 N. Fourth Street, has been linked to the Shigellosis outbreak.

    In order to reopen, the restaurant owners must wash all their equipment with bleach and employees must get clean bills of health from a doctor, Balliet said.

    Shigella can mostly be treated with antibiotics, though some strains are proving resistant, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    The CDC reported 1,633 cases of Shigellosis, the name of the infection caused by Shigella bacteria, in California last year, up from 949 cases in 2011.

    Within the Bay Area, San Francisco reported 278 cases of Shigella last year, while Santa Clara and Alameda counties each had 81, the CDC reports.

    NBC Bay Area's Ian Cull and Kristofer Noceda contributed to this report.

    To report a case of Shigella, click here or call 408-885-4214.

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