12 in ICU, 80 sick after outbreak at seafood restaurant

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Wednesday, October 21, 2015
11 end up in ICU after getting sick at San Jose restaurant
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Mariscos San Juan on North 4th Street in San Jose is closed after reports of 30 people getting sick.

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- A contagious bacteria sickening diners at a South Bay restaurant is spreading to people who never even ate there.

A woman who ate the contaminated seafood told ABC7 News about her trip to the hospital E.R. Alicia Ingram was discharged from the hospital Tuesday, but many others remain hospitalized.

The Santa Clara County Health Department is concerned the cases of Shigella are spreading from the diners who ate at Mariscos San Juan restaurant #3 to those who did not eat there, but came in contact with sick patients.

Click here for details on Shigella from the CDC

The symptoms include diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps starting a day or two after being exposed to the bacteria. The symptoms usually go away in 5-10 days. Shigella can be stopped by frequent and careful hand-washing with soap.

MORE: Prevention tips from the CDC

Alicia said, "I wanted shrimp tacos, so I just Yelped somewhere like 'Mexican seafood.'"

However, she had no idea her craving for seafood would land her in the hospital. It wasn't until she collapsed in the hallway, that her family rushed her to the emergency room. If Alicia didn't make it to the hospital when she did, she could have ended up in the ICU.

"They got my heart rate back to normal and my blood pressure up," Alicia recalls.

VIDEO: 80 sickened in Shigella outbreak linked to San Jose restaurant

She is one of dozens who were sickened after eating at Mariscos San Juan in Downtown San Jose on North 4th Street. Some of those unsuspecting diners then passed on the infection to friends and family. As of Tuesday evening, a total of 80 cases had been reported.

The restaurant is expected to be closed for several days while health officials trace the source of the contamination.

Santa Clara County health officer Dr. Sara Cody said, "We're really looking at all different possibilities."

Officials believe someone preparing the food most likely spread the bacteria, so stool samples from employees will be collected and tested.

Alicia's parents want answers and they want the owner to be held accountable.

Alicia's father, Barry Ingram, told ABC7 News, "I was so angry because I feel that if anything, for their reputation, you think they would say, 'Ok, we're going to check into this.' But the doctor told us he's not being very compliant."

The Ingrams are doing what they can to protect themselves by routinely washing their hands, while Alicia recovers at home.