The Mexico Viejo restaurant in Taylorsville, NC, about 60 miles north of Charlotte, remained open Friday after as many as 45 customers reported illnesses to the local health department.
Officials from the Alexander County Health Department said on Friday that one E. coli infection has been confirmed. One person was hospitalized due to the illness.
County Health Director Leeanne Whisnant said the health department was notified Friday morning about the confirmed case of E. coli. The health department issued a press release on the outbreak to local media and on Facebook on Friday afternoon.
She said at least 30 individuals have reported getting sick after eating chicken at the Mexico Viejo restaurant on June 20. Most reported nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea were experienced within hours of eating at the restaurant located on Highway 90 East.
The health department sent Environmental Health Specialists to the restaurant on Friday and brought in the State Communicable Disease Branch and the State Environmental Health Division to work on the outbreak.
Anyone who ate at the Mexican restaurant on June 20 and who has since become ill should call the county health department at 828-632-9704. Anyone experiencing nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea should stay hydrated and seek medical attention if the symptoms do not subside or become worse, according to Whisnant.
If the illnesses remained linked to only June 20, Whisnant says the outbreak could be an isolated event. Alexander County has not had any multiple E. coli cases in 20 years.
At this point, dishes containing chicken served on June 20 are the suspected source of the illnesses. Those who’ve reported their illnesses to the Health Department also say they’ve recovered quickly.
The Health Department’s plan is to closely monitor Mexico Viejo. They said the restaurant management is being fully cooperative in the investigation.
E. coli can be deadly in rare instances for young children, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems.
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