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32 Campylobacter cases linked to California restaurant

A Mexican restaurant in Fairfield, CA, has been closed since Wednesday while an investigation continues into 32 confirmed cases of Campylobacter infection.

Alejandro’s Taqueria on Texas Street in downtown Fairfield is to remain shut down until revised operations meet with approval from county health officials. While nothing was posted on its website or Facebook page to indicate that it was closed, no one answered the phone at the restaurant Friday morning.

Alejandro's Taqueria

Alejandro’s Taqueria in downtown Fairfield, CA, has been closed since June 8 while an investigation continues into 32 confirmed cases of campylobacteriosis.

“We are discussing opening it up over the weekend if they have met all the requirements and changes,” said Beth Armentano, an epidemiologist with Solano County Public Health.

“We’re still continuing with the investigation and we’re continuing with interviews and contacting every case that’s been reported to us,” she added.

Additional cases of campylobacteriosis could be identified as lab results come in, Armentano noted. To confirm the illness, a culture needs to be grown, and there is more than one test available and more than one lab to which samples might be sent.

According to Deputy Health Officer Dr. Michael Stacey, Solano County has received an unusually high number of reports of abdominal illness this month.

“There have been increased reports of laboratory-confirmed campylobacteriosis since the beginning of June,” he stated. “So far, 32 campylobacter cases have been reported to us this month, almost double the number of reported cases that we had for the whole month of June in 2015.”

A number of those people said they had eaten at Alejandro’s from May 26-29, according to health department reports, making the timeline for potential illness a few days before and after that period.

County health officials are not certain what food item might have caused the illnesses. They are still checking samples of cooked foods taken from the restaurant on June 8 and also continuing to investigate the reports of those sickened.

According to a health alert sent out June 6 by the Solano County Public Health Department, the most common sources of Campylobacter are the infected feces of animals or people, unpasteurized milk, and contaminated poultry, meat, water or other food products.

Infection with Campylobacter bacteria typically causes diarrhea, cramping, abdominal pain, and fever within two to five days after exposure to the organism. The diarrhea may be bloody and can be accompanied by nausea and vomiting. The illness typically lasts about one week.

Some infected people do not have any symptoms but can transmit the illness to others. In those with compromised immune systems, Campylobacter occasionally spreads to the bloodstream and causes a serious life-threatening infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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