Food handler who tested positive for Shigella not source outbreak: health officials

The source of a large shigellosis outbreak linked to Mariscos San Juan #3 in Santa Clara remains a mystery. Health department folks say that the staff member who tested positive was likely sickened by the same source as 180+ patrons – and not the source of the illnesses, according to KRON.

Health officials Thursday announced the results of lab results from all the food handlers working at the restaurant where dozens of people fell ill with Shigella, and they say that the one infected worker was not the cause of the outbreak.mariscos

“Based on work schedules and the onset of the food handler’s illness, the department believes that the individual who tested positive for Shigella likely contracted the disease as a result of the outbreak and was not the cause of it,” said Allison Thrash, Santa Clara County Public Health Department spokesperson.

The Santa Clara County Public Health Department said that of all the food handlers who worked at Mariscos San Juan #3 restaurant during the Shigella outbreak on October 16th and 17th, only one tested positive for the contagious diarrhoeal disease.

The worker has been restricted from working until it is determined that the individual is Shigella-free.

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About Ben Chapman

Dr. Ben Chapman is a professor and food safety extension specialist at North Carolina State University. As a teenager, a Saturday afternoon viewing of the classic cable movie, Outbreak, sparked his interest in pathogens and public health. With the goal of less foodborne illness, his group designs, implements, and evaluates food safety strategies, messages, and media from farm-to-fork. Through reality-based research, Chapman investigates behaviors and creates interventions aimed at amateur and professional food handlers, managers, and organizational decision-makers; the gate keepers of safe food. Ben co-hosts a biweekly podcast called Food Safety Talk and tries to further engage folks online through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and, maybe not surprisingly, Pinterest. Follow on Twitter @benjaminchapman.