In a follow-up to a report last week on a Shigellosis outbreak linked to a San Jose, California restaurant, Santa Clara County Public Health Department (SCCPHD) officials now put the case count at 190 in six counties.

Shigella image/CDC
Shigella image/CDC

Of the 190 cases, 151 of these cases are Santa Clara County residents and 39 reported cases are people who live in other counties. Of the 190 total cases, 92 are lab confirmed; 72 of which are Santa Clara County residents. There are 20 confirmed cases from other jurisdictions, including San Mateo , Alameda, Santa Cruz, Marin and Merced Counties. Nearly all of the cases have reported that they ate at Mariscos San Juan #3 restaurant on Friday October 16th or Saturday October 17th.

SCCPHD remains focused on the outbreak investigation and we continue to work closely with our colleagues in other affected counties and with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). Mariscos San Juan #3 restaurant remains closed.

So far, all cultures have come back as Shigella sonnei.

Shigellosis is spread from person-to-person through the fecal-oral route. The bacteria can be transferred easily among children because of their poor hand washing habits and tendency to put things in their mouths. People can also become infected by consuming food or drinks prepared by an infected person or handling or cleaning up feces.

Because Shigella is resistant to gastric acid, a person can get infected with as little as 10 organisms.

Symptoms usually begin 24 to 72 hours after exposure and last about four to seven days without treatment; however, severe infections may require antibiotics.

The CDC offers the following recommendations for preventing the spread of Shigella: Wash hands with soap carefully and frequently, especially after going to the bathroom, after changing diapers, and before preparing foods or beverages; Dispose of soiled diapers properly; Disinfect diaper changing areas after using them; Keep children with diarrhea out of child care settings; Supervise handwashing of toddlers and small children after they use the toilet; Do not prepare food for others while ill with diarrhea and avoid swallowing water from ponds, lakes, or untreated pools.

Every year, about 14,000 cases of shigellosis are reported in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Robert Herriman is a microbiologist and the Editor-in-Chief of Outbreak News Today and the Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch

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