According to the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District, at least 184 people have reported symptoms of salmonella infection, after eating at the Wurzbach Road location of Pasha Mediterranean Grill, in an outbreak that is much larger than previously thought.
These latest figures were released Wednesday, Sept. 5, and represent far more than the earlier estimate of 60-plus cases. Of those 184 reported cases of Salmonella infection, already seven have been hospitalized.
Metro Health Investigating
Metro Health reports having received more than 200 calls so far, and they expect more calls from those who may have been affected. They continue to ask potential victims of this outbreak to call 311 to report their illness, so they can continue to track and confirm cases. Metro Health officials are continuing to investigate and they report that restaurant officials are cooperating with their investigation. While health officials know the culprit is Salmonella bacteria is the cause of the outbreak, they have not yet pinpointed how the contamination happened.
The exposure to the salmonella bacteria apparently happened between last Friday and Monday, Labor Day, and Metro Health officials have been present at the restaurant every day this week, to work with the facility’s staff and management. As noted, the restaurant’s management and staff have been very cooperative. For example, when health officials noted the restaurant’s refrigeration wasn’t cold enough, the restaurant was closed until the refrigerators were able to reach the proper temperature.
The Metro Health investigation will seek to determine whether the contamination happened due to improper food handling or food storage in the restaurant, or whether the food came into the restaurant already contaminated. Salmonella bacteria contamination usually happens when food is not properly handled, stored or prepared, but it can also happen when a food handler doesn’t properly wash their hands, especially if they are sick themselves.
Pasha’s corporate management praised Metro Health inspectors for walking them through the process and showing them how to do everything safely. They also pointed out that this is the first time in 10 years they have had such problems and that none of their three other locations have seem an outbreak so far. Pasha executives expressed concern over those who have fallen ill after eating at the Wurzbach location and they are committed to getting everyone through this as quickly as possible with no further illnesses.
What the Investigation Will Cover
Salmonella infection, also known as salmonellosis, is a bacterial disease that affects the intestinal tract. The salmonella bacteria commonly live in animal and human intestines and contaminations usually happen through contact with feces. In most circumstances, humans tend to become infected when they come in contact with contaminated water or food. Most commonly, it is caused by consuming raw or undercooked meat, poultry, eggs or egg products.
Most healthy people with salmonellosis see no symptoms, while some others may develop symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, fever, headaches, and diarrhea. In some cases, it can cause bloody stools. In most instances, the infection will go away on its own within a few days or a week. However, in some cases, diarrhea associated with a salmonella infection can lead to dehydration so severe as to lead to prompt medical attention or hospitalization. In some severe cases, other more serious complications can develop, especially if the infection spreads beyond the intestines. Also, the risk of a serious salmonella is most severe for small children, the elderly and with pregnant women.
When people eat at a restaurant, it should be a fun occasion for everyone. No one should get sick from eating contaminated food. All food contamination is preventable and these types of outbreaks are usually caused by negligence somewhere along the line. Metro Health is on the case, and there will have to be a thorough investigation of the circumstances that led to this massive food poisoning outbreak. It will have to be determined where the contamination came from the restaurant itself or from someone else in the supply chain, or if there was a problem with both. The families affected by this outbreak deserve answers.