The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) has linked an outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC), impacting at least 25 Chicago residents, to the Carbon Live Fire Mexican Grill located at 300 W. 26th Street. The Bridgeport restaurant has been closed and will not participate in Taste of Chicago, which is scheduled for July 6 to 10. CarbonChicago_406x250At least 5 individuals have been hospitalized as part of this outbreak. One of the leading symptoms caused by STEC is diarrhea, including bloody diarrhea. Infection can also lead to more serious complications. CDPH recommends anyone who recently ate at the popular Mexican restaurant and is suffering these symptoms to see a medical provider for testing and inform them of the possibility of STEC. “This is a serious condition that is treatable,” said CDPH Commissioner Julie Morita, M.D. “Anyone who believes they may be symptomatic and ate at this restaurant should see their medical provider immediately. CDPH is taking every precaution as part of our robust response in order to limit the impact of this outbreak.” STEC can be transmitted through consumption of contaminated foods including undercooked beef, unpasteurized juice, raw milk and unwashed, raw produce. The menu items responsible for this outbreak have not yet been identified and the investigation is ongoing. Health officials continue to be onsite at the 300 W. 26th Street location and are also interviewing patients to rule out other possible exposures. CDPH has also issued an alert to area physicians of the outbreak, providing medical guidance. Medical providers who suspect STEC should submit specimens for testing. Antibiotics and anti-diarrheal medicines should not be used to treat STEC as they may worsen symptoms. Medical experts instead encourage supportive medical care, including intravenous fluids, where necessary. Chicago providers must report diagnosed cases to the Chicago Department of Public Health. Health officials say the restaurant is cooperating in the investigation. It is not clear when the first E coli case linked to Carbon was reported. Bridgeport, is just south of Chicago’s Chinatown at the intersection of Interstates 90 and 50.   The entire area is about two square miles.