After a Shigella outbreak at a Mexican seafood restaurant in California that made several people ill and infected with the disease, two affected diners have filed a lawsuit against the restaurant owners.
According to media reports, two lawsuits had been filed against the Mariscos San Juan restaurant by a high school administrator and another man. They both claimed that they acquired Shigella after eating at the seafood restaurant in San Jose. The cases of the infection have increased to more than 90, and the outbreak has now spread to areas in San Mateo and Santa Cruz, reports say.
The Santa Clara County Public Health Department has since shut down the restaurant and issued a warning to the public, especially those who had eaten at the establishment during the weekend.
"Thus far, at least 15 of the reported cases are laboratory confirmed with Shigella (shigellosis). An investigation of this Shigella outbreak is underway, and lab results from additional cases are expected to arrive daily," said Dr. Lisa Hernandez, county health officer. Officials say that 12 of the confirmed cases required treatment at the intensive care unit.
Greg Meissner, one of the two people who filed the lawsuits, said that something like this shouldn't happen again. He said that he experienced nausea, dizziness and severe stomach disorders after eating takeout from the restaurant. His temperature had even risen to 105 degrees Fahrenheit.
"I thought I needed to get to the emergency room," Meissner recalls.
Officials say that the majority of Shigella cases were acquired from the Mariscos San Juan restaurant, while an unspecified number who got infected didn't eat at the establishment but got the disease from someone who did.
Immediate investigations point to a contaminated food handler as the source of the infection, but officials have yet to inspect it.
Meissner said he ate a ceviche tosada or chopped seafood marinated in lime and served on tortilla shells. Meanwhile, Daniel Estrada, the other man who filed the lawsuit, had eaten an unspecified dish and became ill, got rushed to the hospital and was treated. Both men are still suffering from the aftereffects of the infection.
Owners of the Mariscos San Juan restaurant Sergio Becerra Cruz and Lourdes Garcia Becerra were unavailable for comment, but Dr. George Han from the county health department said that they were cooperative in the investigation.