To date, 68 people have been sickened in a Salmonella Enteritidis outbreak that has been linked to an unnamed Mexican restaurant.
The restaurant is a quick-service Mexican restaurant chain, said Nation’s Restaurant News and the illnesses spanned 10 states in an outbreak federal officials say is over.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it has been cooperating with state public health officials who are working to determine the outbreak’s cause, which began around October 13, wrote Nation’s Restaurant News. CDC officials said that investigators involved in the research determined that the outbreak was linked to consumption of food from what they described as “Mexican-style, fast-food Restaurant Chain A.” No restaurant name has been released, noted Nation’s Restaurant News.
Because the CDC is not a regulatory agency, it does not generally release the names of companies involved in outbreak investigations, and defers release of that information to involved state public health officials, CDC spokesperson Lola Russell told Nation’s Restaurant News. Russell said that the CDC sometimes does release company names in specific situations in which release of those details benefits the probe or helps protect public health; for instance, when an outbreak involves a recall.
Despite the collaboration with the food chain, its suppliers and distributors, and investigators, the food linked to the outbreak was never identified, in part because some common ingredients were used in multiple food items, said the CDC, wrote Nation’s Restaurant News.
The CDC did point out that “the epidemic curve seen in the outbreak is consistent with those observed in past produce-related outbreaks,” but that statement was based on observation only, noted Nation’s Restaurant News. The CDC also said that the outbreak was likely not caused by ground beef due to how the restaurant chain handles and cooks its meat.
Nation’s Restaurant News wrote that the CDC said investigators involved in the outbreak case concluded that the Salmonella Enteritidis contamination probably took place prior to the product in question reaching the restaurants since all those who fell ill reported having eaten at 18 different chain locations in the week before falling ill.
The most common symptoms of Salmonella poisoning—salmonellosis—are diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever, with symptoms manifesting, usually, within six to 72 hours. Additional symptoms include chills, headache, nausea, and vomiting that can last up to seven days. The illness usually lasts four to seven days; however, in some, the organism can invade the bloodstream, becoming so severe that hospitalization is required.
Sometimes, infection with the Salmonella pathogen can result in, and produce more severe or chronic illnesses. Salmonella, can be dangerous, sometimes deadly, leaving sufferers with serious life-long health issues. Salmonellosis, one of the most common bacterial food borne illnesses, can be especially life threatening to those with weakened immune systems, such as infants, the elderly, and persons with HIV infection or who are undergoing chemotherapy.