Five people in Merced County get shigellosis from the San Jose restaurant

MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) – More than 180 people have now reported getting sick at a restaurant in San Jose, including five in Merced County.

The disease is called “shigellosis” and causes some rather miserable symptoms. According to local health officials, five Merced County people are suspected of getting sick after eating at the San Jose restaurant, and three of them have been hospitalized.

Mariscos San Juan # 3 is a popular Mexican restaurant in San Jose, but it’s now in the spotlight for a reason that can ruin many appetites. Health officials say it has been linked to approximately 70 confirmed cases of shigellosis and many more suspected cases.

“The germ Shigella is a person-to-person bacterium, mainly through contaminated food or drink. So if someone doesn’t wash their hands adequately after going to the toilet, they can pass them onto food,” said Richard Rios, Merced County Public Health Manager.

Five men in Merced County fell sick after eating at the restaurant on October 16-17, Rios said. Two of them were hospitalized at Mercy Medical Center and a third was treated in the bay, but they have all been released since then. “Two of the five have been confirmed in the laboratory and all the information we have gathered has been made available to the State of California and the Santa Clara Department of Health for ongoing research.”

Bay Area Greg Meissner was the first to file a lawsuit against the restaurant owners. He seeks compensation for pain and suffering after spending seven hours in the emergency room. “It’s an extremely high fever, really bad chills, extremely bad convulsions, constant running to the bathroom, nausea, vomiting, dizziness.”

According to Rios, most people who have the disease make a full recovery, and good hygiene can prevent it from spreading since it is not in the air. “There really are no special precautions, and the local hospitals and health care providers make sure that all proper procedures are followed.”

Health officials suspect the Shigella bacteria were spread in the restaurant by a contaminated grocer, but they are still investigating.

Anyone who has eaten in the restaurant in mid-October and got sick should contact the local health department.

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