According to public health officials who announced the outbreak today, a restaurant in San Diego, CA, has closed until further notice because of an E. coli outbreak among patrons.

At least 13 people have become ill with E. coli infections after eating at Miguel’s Cocina in 4S Ranch. Seven patients have been hospitalized, and one has developed a life-threatening kidney failure complication known as hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).

The sick people range in age from 6 to 87 years old. Those who fell sick reported eating at the implicated restaurant from Oct. 6 through Oct. 18. Symptom onset was from Oct. 13 to Oct. 19, according to the county’s Health and Human Services Agency. Additional patients could be identified because of the time it takes for symptoms to develop and the time it takes for testing and reporting.

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

“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,” Wooten said.

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. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), others can develop severe or life-threatening symptoms and complications.

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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