San Diego County officials are reporting more patients with E. Coli infections traced to Miguel’s Cocina in 4S Ranch restaurant.

Now, 17 patients have been confirmed with seven people, including four children, being hospitalized. As of Oct. 24 there were 13 patients confirmed. The patients range in age from 6 to 87 years old, according to the county health department. At least one of the seven people hospitalized developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) which is a life threatening condition that attack the kidneys and cause brain damage.

Patients report eating at the restaurant from Oct. 6 through Oct. 18 before becoming ill. There are likely more sick people because people often do not seek medical treatment because symptoms of E. Coli infection can mimic other illnesses. Also, there is lag time between when a person becomes ill and when testing, follow up testing and reporting are done.

“People who visited the restaurant and are feeling ill should see their doctor as soon as possible,” said Wilma J. Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. 

“We want them to get tested and have the results sent to the local health department. Those most at risk from infection are children, adults 65 and older and people with weakened immune systems.”

The restaurant has closed until further notice according to public health officials who first announced the outbreak on Oct. 24.

County health officials are still investigating the specific food items that were the source of the Shiga-toxin-producing E. coli at the restaurant.

About E. coli infections 
Anyone who has eaten at the restaurant and developed symptoms of E. coli infection should seek medical attention and tell their doctor about their possible exposure to the bacteria. Specific tests are required to diagnose the infections, which can mimic other illnesses.

The symptoms of E. coli infections vary for each person but often include severe stomach cramps and diarrhea, which is often bloody. Some patients may also have a fever. Most patients recover within five to seven days. Others can develop severe or life-threatening symptoms and complications, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

About 5 to 10 percent of those diagnosed with E. coli infections develop a potentially life-threatening kidney failure complication, known as a hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Symptoms of HUS include fever, abdominal pain, feeling very tired, decreased frequency of urination, small unexplained bruises or bleeding, and pallor. 

Many people with HUS recover within a few weeks, but some suffer permanent injuries or death. This condition can occur among people of any age but is most common in children younger than five years old because of their immature immune systems, older adults because of deteriorating immune systems, and people with compromised immune systems such as cancer patients. 

People who experience HUS symptoms should immediately seek emergency medical care. People with HUS will likely be hospitalized because the condition can cause other serious and ongoing problems such as hypertension, chronic kidney disease, brain damage, and neurologic problems.

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