Tue, Jun. 14, 2005
BY NICKLAUS LOVELADY
The number of salmonella cases stemming from an outbreak at a Mexican restaurant in East Alton has more than doubled since last week.
The Madison County Health Department reported Monday that 22 confirmed cases of salmonella have been linked to Casa Romero Restaurant at 521 E. Airline Drive in East Alton.
Last week the department said restaurant owners volunteered to temporally close the establishment on June 3, after 10 people reported getting sick while eating at the restaurant.
Attempts to reach the restaurant owners Monday were unsuccessful.
The 22 people visited the restaurant between May 21 and June 3, said Public Health Administrator Tina Corona. She said “several” of those infected are employees of the restaurant, but she did not specify how many.
“It looks like the original transmission was from an infected person, but to find out exactly where it came from is nearly impossible,” Corona said.
Salmonella is a bacteria that can be spread by eating food contaminated with it or by eating food that was handled by someone who had contact with it. Symptoms include nausea and diarrhea.
Corona said several people infected with the bacteria were hospitalized, but she declined to specify how many.
She said the restaurant will remain closed until a lab report is concluded, basic food safety is explained to employees, and all employees have tested negative for salmonella.
“We haven’t stamped out a date to reopen the restaurant,” Corona said.
The Health Department inspects the restaurant at least three times a year. During the last inspection, which was Feb. 28, the restaurant received a score of 95 out of 100, with no critical health violations.
Contact reporter Nicklaus Lovelady at email@example.com or 659-0985.