The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is investigating an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infection that may include at least 11 cases.


According to a news release Friday, at least two of the cases have progressed to hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a complication of E. coli infection that can lead to kidney failure.

The health department said the illnesses appear to be related to dining at a Spartanburg-area Mexican restaurant during the last week of April, 2012.

Though government officials are so far declining to name the restaurant, a number of readers of the local news site have stated in comments that they believe El Mexicano in Hillcrest is the restaurant linked to the outbreak.

Public health officials are asking that health care providers exercise heightened surveillance for patients with symptoms consistent with enterohemorrhagic E. coli, including abdominal cramps and diarrhea that is often bloody and recommends that patients with such symptoms not be given antibiotics until diagnostic testing is complete and E. coli infection can be ruled out.