As of August 1, 2013, at least 11 people who ate at the Federico’s Mexican Restaurant in the West Valley outside of Phoenix, Arizona have fallen ill with E. coli infections. According to news reports, 8 of the 11 cases were hospitalized and another 4 E. coli cases have yet to be confirmed. I have been on the phone today with two victims of this outbreak – one whose daughter has developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).
It made me think of past outbreak and past lawsuits.
Los Burritos Mexicanos: An E. coli outbreak in DuPage County, Illinois, is suspected to have been caused by food served at the Los Burritos Mexicanos restaurant in Lombard. The restaurant was closed on June 14, 2013 during an E. coli outbreak investigation. The DuPage County Health Department counted 31 confirmed and probable E. coli cases as part of the Los Burritos Mexicanos outbreak.
Ixtapa Family Mexican Restaurant: In October of 2008, Snohomish County Health Department (SCHD) epidemiologists investigated an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak among patrons of the Ixtapa Family Mexican Restaurant in Lake Stevens, Washington. Dates of illness onset ranged from October 7-17, 2008. An investigation by the SCHD and the Washington State Department of Health (WSDOH) identified sixty-four cases of E. coli infection linked to the consumption of food at Ixtapa restaurant. Four confirmed cases were hospitalized, and one developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a severe complication of E. coli that can lead to kidney failure.
El Mexicano Mexican Restaurant: In May of 2012, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) announced that it was investigating an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 that had sickened 11 individuals in the Spartanburg area. All 11 victims reported eating at the same El Mexicano Mexican restaurant. Two of the victims developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Illnesses were related to eating at the restaurant during the last week of April.
Coco Locos Restaurant: In May 2013, the source of an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak in Brazos County, Texas is being investigated by public health officials and is believed to have been caused by E. coli-contaminated ground beef served at the Coco Locos restaurant located in 300 block of George Bush Drive in College Station, TX. According to news reports, at least 10 people were part of the E. coli outbreak, which has been linked to ground beef served at the restaurant. Health officials have not yet determined whether the E. coli outbreak stemmed from under-cooked ground beef or from cross-contamination between raw ground beef and other foods or surfaces in the restaurant kitchen.
Habaneros Mexican Restaurant: In late August of 2003, staff in the Communicable Disease (CD) section at the St. Clair County Health Department (SCCHD) received a report that four Illinois residents who had recently traveled to the St. Clair area were experiencing bloody diarrhea and had gone to emergency rooms in their respective hometowns for treatment. On Tuesday, September 2, SCCHD was notified that E. coli O157:H7 had been isolated from at least one of the four people’s stool specimens. At the same time, the SCCHD began receiving other reports of diarrheal illness in patients seen by local physicians. Preliminary interviews of ill persons revealed that all had eaten at Habaneros prior to the onset of diarrhea. SCCHD conducted a foodborne outbreak investigation and found that of 64 persons, including seven employees, who had eaten at Habaneros between August 15, 2003 and September 5, 2003, thirty (47%) reported having diarrheal symptoms; ten sought medical care. An extensive food consumption history was obtained from each person interviewed, but no specific food-item was statistically associated with illness.
Taco Johns: In December 2006, Iowa and Minnesota health officials investigated an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak among patrons at Taco John’s restaurants in Cedar Falls, Iowa, and Albert Lea and Austin, Minnesota. As of December 13, 2006, the Iowa Department of Health had confirmed that at least 50 Iowans had become ill with E. coli infections after eating at Taco John’s, and the Minnesota Department of Health had confirmed that at least 27 Minnesotans were part of the outbreak.
Taco Bell: Taco Bell restaurants were the source of an E. coli outbreak during the last week of November and the beginning of December 2006. Residents of New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and South Carolina were confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as being part of the Taco Bell E. coli outbreak, which was traced to contaminated lettuce served in foods at Taco Bell restaurants. On December 13, 2006, the CDC announced that at 71 people had become ill with E. coli infections associated with the Taco Bell restaurant outbreak. Of those 71, 53 people had been hospitalized, 48 people were confirmed ill with E. coli, and 8 developed hemolytic uremic syndrome.