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Shigella outbreak from San Jose restaurant infects nearly 200

A Shigella bacteria outbreak from San Jose restaurant Mariscos San Juan has infected nearly 200 people in six counties according to health officials.

Mariscos San Juan's Fourth Street location allegedly served contaminated food on October 16 and 17. Officials suspect that a contaminated food handler spread the bacteria.

The bacteria may cause diarrhea, fever, nausea, and vomiting. It is especially harmful to sick children, the elderly, and others with weak immune systems. After the initial outbreak, 80 people became ill and 12 of those required intensive care treatment at local hospitals.

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The bacteria spreads quickly. What started out as 80 cases spread to nearly 200 in about a week. One hundred and eleven of these cases are lab confirmed as of November 9, according to the Santa Clara County Public Health Department.

Closely related to Salmonella, Shigella is contracted by fecal-to-oral contamination. For example, if a restaurant worker did not wash his hands after using the restroom, and then handled food, the person that ate the food could contract Shigella.

Officials have shut down Mariscos San Juan until further notice. Lawsuits against the restaurant and its owners, Sergio Becerra Cruz and Lourdes Garcia Becerra, have already been filed in Santa Clara County Superior Court.

It can take up to a week for Shigella symptoms to appear. If you ate at Mariscos San Juan and suspect you might be ill, visit your health care provider immediately. If your illness required a hospital stay, you may want to consult with a personal injury attorney.

Visit www.sccgov.org for updates.

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