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Shigella Food Poisoning Outbreak Closes San Jose Restaurant

October 22, 2015 1 comment

mariscos_closed_sign

(Photo credits: http://www.mercurynews.com/health/ci_28995979/update-dozens-sickened-12-intensive-care-after-eating; KGO ABC 7 News.)

The Santa Clara County Health Department has closed Mariscos San Juan, a San Jose, California seafood restaurant due to a Shigella food poisoning outbreak that has sickened more than 90 people.

What is Shigella?

Shigellosis is an infection caused by Shigella bacteria.  Symptoms usually appear within 1-2 days after infection.

How Bad Is It?

Diarrhea, abdominal pain, and fever are common symptomsChildren and immuno-compromised people are most at risk of infection.

Shigella complications are rare, but they can be serious.  They include Hemolytic-Uremic Syndrome (HUS) that can cause acute kidney failure and reactive arthritis.  

How Does It Spread?

Although no specific source of contamination has been identified in this outbreak, there are multiple possible sources of shigella infection, which is highly contagious.  These include:

How is It Treated?

Diarrhea can cause dehydration, which can be treated with fluids.  Serious cases may require additional medical treatment such as antibiotics.

Why Should I Worry About It?

Shigella is prevalent, causing about 500,000 cases annually in the U.S.

Shigella bacteria are also developing resistance to many common antibiotics, which makes the condition harder to treat and more likely to spread.

What Can I Do About It?

Shigella victim Greg Meissner filed a lawsuit against the restaurant.  Given the number of people infected, more will likely follow.

Followup Re: GMOs and the Pesticide Arms Race: EPA Considering Testing Food for Roundup Residues

 (Photo Credit: zengardener.com. Trademarks and copyrights are property of their registered owners.)

As reported by Reuters and Food Safety News, the EPA is considering testing food products for residues of glyphosate, also known by the Monsanto brand name, Roundup.

The EPA has only tested for glyphosate in one year, 2011.  Although most soybean samples tested contained residues, all were below the exposure limit.  However, exposure to glyphosate occurs from a wide variety of products, so some consumers are concerned even about what appear to be relatively low levels, such as the 0.12 ppm found in the kids’ cereal, Froot Loops, and the .05 ppm found in organic honey.

Given the pervasive application of Roundup to non-organic crops and recent research supporting the hypothesis that glyphosate increases antibiotic resistance, testing for residues is a good first step.