The Alexander County Health Department has received numerous reports of illness from patrons who ate at a local restaurant on Wednesday, June 20; therefore, the department is investigating the possibility of an E. coli outbreak.
According to Leeanne Whisnant, ACHD Health Director, one individual has tested positive for E. Coli (EPEC) with more than 30 individuals reporting illness after consuming chicken at Mexico Viejo (Hwy. 90 East location). Most of the reports involved symptoms of nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea within several hours of eating at the restaurant.
Whisnant said she believes this is an isolated event, as the department has had no reports of illness after eating at the restaurant since June 20.
She noted that the individuals interviewed by the health department have ALL improved or recovered. For those who continue to have symptoms, please remember to stay well hydrated and seek medical attention if symptoms do not subside or become worse. If you are experiencing these symptoms good handwashing practices is essential.
Whisnant said the health department sent Environmental Health Specialists to the restaurant on June 22 to conduct a thorough inspection of the restaurant. The health department is also working with the State Communicable Disease Branch and the State Environmental Health Division on this outbreak.
E. coli is bacteria that causes severe stomach cramps, diarrhea (often bloody), vomiting, and sometimes a low-grade fever. Some infections are very mild. Very young children and the elderly are more likely to develop potentially life-threatening complications.
The Alexander County Health Department advises the public to wash hands, and especially children’s hands, as young toddlers with E. coli can easily spread the infection in childcare settings and at home. Antibiotics should not be used to treat this infection.
If you ate at this restaurant on June 20th and are having symptoms of E. coli, please contact the Alexander County Health Department at (828) 632-9704. Health Department staff are continuing to monitor the situation.