SAN DIEGO—An outbreak of 13 confirmed or probable cases of E. coli have been linked to dining at Miguel’s Cocina 4S Ranch location, the county’s Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) announced Oct. 24.
The HHSA’s epidemiology program and the county Department of Environmental Health and Quality are investigating the cluster of E. coli infections. Ages range from 6 to 87 years of age.
The ill people or their families reported eating at the restaurant from Oct. 6–18 and had symptoms from Oct. 13–19. Seven cases were hospitalized with at least one case developing the more severe complication of the infection called hemolytic uremic syndrome, according to a county statement.
The specific food items that were sources of the E. coli bacteria at the restaurant are under investigation. The restaurant is cooperating and working closely with the county, according to the HHSA. Management voluntarily decided to close the eatery Tuesday morning until the source can be identified.
“People who visited the restaurant and are feeling ill should see their doctor as soon as possible,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, 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.”
County Environmental Health inspectors visited the 4S location Monday afternoon and found no “operational major risk factors for food-borne illness,” according to the county.
Most people with a Shiga-toxin-producing E. coli infection start feeling sick three to four days after eating or drinking something that contains the bacteria. However, illnesses can start anywhere from 1 to 10 days after exposure. Symptoms vary from person to person and often include severe abdominal cramps, watery or bloody diarrhea, and vomiting.
Symptoms may occur with or without a fever. When present, the fever usually is not very high. Most people get better within 5 to 7 days. Some infections are very mild, but others are severe or even life-threatening.
“The public is asked to contact your health care provider if you have experienced these symptoms on or after Oct. 6, and especially if you have diarrhea that lasts for more than three days or diarrhea that is accompanied by a fever higher than 102 degrees, or blood in the stool, or so much vomiting that you cannot keep liquids down and you pass very little urine,” a county statement said.