Health officials in Arizona’s Maricopa County have identified an E. coli outbreak linked to a local Mexican restaurant that has sickened at least 11 people and may be responsible for 4 additional cases.
Of the 15 cases of bloody diarrhea reported to the Maricopa County Health Department since July 25, 11 reported eating at Federico’s Mexican Restaurant in Litchfield Park prior to falling ill. Preliminary test results are showing that the patients contracted E. coli O157 infections.
The Maricopa County Environmental Services Department visited the restaurant and has collected food samples to test for pathogens.
“Unfortunately, there is still much to uncover about this outbreak such as what specific food may have been contaminated, how the food was contaminated and how many people have been exposed. As we discover this information, we will continue to share with the public,” said Dr Bob England, director of MCDPH in a press release Friday.
Only one Federico’s location — at 13132 W Camelback in Litchfield Park — has been implicated in the outbreak. That location has closed voluntarily while investigators attempt to determine the outbreak source.
“The restaurant has been extremely cooperative with our investigation. In fact, out of an abundance of caution and concern for their customers, the restaurant is voluntarily closing,” said Steven Goode, deputy director of MCESD.
Symptoms of E. coli infection generally appear 3-4 days after infection and include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea and sometimes vomiting.
MCDPH urges anyone who ate at the Federico’s location linked to the outbreak on or after July 23, 2013 and has experienced bloody diarrhea after eating there to contact the health department at 602-747-7500.© Food Safety News