Cases of campylobacteriosis have been associated with eating at Alejandro’s Taqueria restaurant located on Texas Street in Fairfield, California, according to KRON News.
On June 6, 2016, Solano County Public Health issued a health alert:
“Solano County Public Health is investigating an increase in the number of positive campylobacter laboratory reports within Solano County. We ask that all healthcare providers be vigilant in the evaluation of patients with acute diarrheal illness and appropriately assess these patients for campylobacteriosis.”
How is a Camylobacteriosis Outbreak Associated with a Restaurant?
Campylobacteriosis can be caused by food contaminated with Campylobacter bacteria. When there is an outbreak of campylobacteriosis, health officials interview the people sickened (and parents of children sickened) to find out what they ate and where they went in the few days before getting sick. If a statistically significant number of people sickened in the outbreak ate at the same restaurant, the outbreak is associated with eating at the restaurant, meaning food served at that restaurant is a likely source of the outbreak.
There is testing that can be done on Campylobacter bacteria to find a “DNA fingerprint” that can be used to determine who is part of an outbreak and the source of an outbreak. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) is a process that cuts up DNA strands and then shakes them (pulses them) into a genetic pattern (DNA fingerprint) that is specific to that Campylobacter bacteria. When 2 or more people are sickened by bacteria with the same DNA fingerprint, it means they were most likely sickened by the same source, according to the CDC.
For example, our law firm represented a woman sickened in another outbreak linked to another restaurant where chicken served at the restaurant was found to be the source of the outbreak. Our client developed a severe complication of campylobacteriosis called Guillain-Barrè syndrome (GBS).
What is Campylobacteriosis?
According to the CDC:
Campylobacteriosis is an infectious disease caused by bacteria of the genus Campylobacter. Most people who become ill with campylobacteriosis get diarrhea, cramping, abdominal pain, and fever within two to five days after exposure to the organism. The diarrhea may be bloody and can be accompanied by nausea and vomiting. The illness typically lasts about one week. Some infected persons do not have any symptoms. In persons with compromised immune systems, Campylobacter occasionally spreads to the bloodstream and causes a serious life-threatening infection.
- Sepsis – Bacteria in the blood spreads to organs, causing life threatening infection and possibly septic shock;
- Guillain-Barrè syndrome (GBS) – A condition in which the body damages its own nerve cells, resulting in muscle weakness and, in some cases, paralysis (sometimes permanent).
Either of these complications can cause death.