Dupage County’s Report of the E. coli O157:H7 outbreak from earlier this Summer, just landed in my inbox.
The outbreak associated with Los Burritos Mexicanos ended after the restaurant was closed on 6/14/2013. A total of 52 ill non-food handlers were identified during this investigation. Of these 52 cases, 17 were lab-confirmed with E. coli O157:H7, 20 were probable cases, one was a secondary probable case, and 14 were suspect cases. One individual became ill as a result of secondary transmission of the organism from a family member who was a patron associated with the outbreak. Ten of these cases were hospitalized (one developed HUS); 11 made an emergency room visit; and another 10 visited their healthcare provider.
None of the menu items analyzed for food specific attack rates displayed a statistically significant association between having been eaten and illness. Lack of proper hand washing, handling ready-to-eat food with bare hands, improperly washing and sanitizing food contact surfaces, failure to wash fruit and vegetables prior to processing and poor facility sanitation were all noted during the Environmental Assessment of the facility. One food handler, a cook, was found to be positive for E. coli O157:H7 with a PFGE pattern matching the patron samples. Since this food handler reported not having any symptoms of illness at any time a month prior to or after the investigation began, it is difficult to ascertain when this individual became infected and whether this individual contributed to the outbreak or was simply a victim, since he reported eating food made at the facility in his interview. All other employees were found to be lab-negative for E. coli. Food prepared prior to the initial onset dates was not available for testing. DCHD Environmental Health staff continued to monitor food preparation processes and provide additional training after the facility reopened. No other complaints of illness associated with Los Burritos Mexicanos in Lombard, IL have been received since the facility re-opened.