Public health officials in California are praising the “swift and decisive action” of the Souplantation chain, which temporarily closed a restaurant in Camarillo in the midst of a shigellosis outbreak this week.

At least eight people have been infected with Shigella bacteria, according to Ventura County Public Health officials. The public health department received notification of the outbreak Thursday, the same day Souplantation officials closed the restaurant.

logo Sweet Tomatoes and Souplantation“Through a series of interviews with those affected, it has been determined that a number of the cases reported to have eaten at the Souplantation in Camarillo. Of the diners interviewed, there are a total of eight individuals with laboratory evidence of Shigella infection,” the county reported Friday.

“It is not currently clear what the source of the infection is. No one food item has been indicated. All employees are being tested and will need to be cleared before returning to work. There are approximately 40 employees at the restaurant.”

All of the food in the restaurant at the time it was closed is being discarded, according to the county news release. The Souplantation location is being “thoroughly cleaned” and all employees are receiving a refresher course in sanitary training.

Ventura County Public Health staff is working with the county’s Environmental Health department, which completed two inspections of the restaurant “in the past two days,” according to the Friday news release from the county.

“We’re tracking these cases closely,” said Public Health Officer Robert Levin in the county release.

Levin praised the Souplantation corporate office for closing the restaurant location through this weekend. Three Souplantation executives traveled to the Camarillo restaurant in response to the outbreak, the chief operating officer a vice president and the company’s quality assurance manager, according to the county release.

“Souplantation’s actions have been exemplary. This is the kind of swift and decisive action, which leads to a collaboration with public health that results in a rapid resolution of the problem,” Levin said in the release.

Anyone who has eaten at the Souplantation in Camarillo recently and developed symptoms of shigellosis should seek medical attention and tell their doctors about the possible exposure.

Shigellosis is highly contagious, but some people who are infected do not have any symptoms. Such individuals can pass the bacteria to others.

Most people who are infected with Shigella develop diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps starting a day or two after they are exposed to the bacteria. Shigellosis usually resolves in five to seven days. However the elderly, young children, pregnant women and others with suppressed immune systems can develop life-threatening infections.

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