Approximately 48 million people in the United States are hospitalized for food poisoning every year, and 2016 is no exception.
An E. coli outbreak at Carbon Live Fire Mexican Grill has affected at least 50 people in the Chicago area, according to the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH). At least 14 people who ate at the restaurant have been hospitalized.
Health officials urge anyone who ate at the restaurant and develops symptoms of an E.coli infection to seek medical attention. Common symptoms include abdominal cramping and diarrhea that can be bloody.
Those who need to see a doctor should also mention exposure to shiga toxin producing E. coli (STEC), according to the CDPH.
A lawsuit has since been filed in connection with the E. coli outbreak. Attorneys from the national food safety law firm Pritzker-Olsen, who have been contacted by five of the 50 who became ill after eating at the restaurant, filed suit on behalf of Maria Terese Loparco, on July 8.
On June 25, Loparco ate two chicken tacos and two steak tacos from Carbon, according to the case. By June 30, she was experiencing gastrointestinal pain and flu-like symptoms, which had worsened to include bloody diarrhea. By the end of the day on June 30, the “diarrhea was pure blood,” according to her complaint.
Loparco was rushed to the Urgent Care center attached to Ingalls Family Care Center and later transferred by emergency vehicle to Ingalls Memorial Hospital.
“Based on what we know now, the Chicago Department of Public Health is closing in on the precise cause of this massive outbreak,” said Brendan Flaherty, the food safety lawyer representing Loparco.
Loparco is among at least 14 people who were hospitalized for E. coli infections after eating food from the restaurant.
“This is a serious condition that is treatable,” said CDPH Commissioner Julie Morita, M.D. “Anyone who believes they may be symptomatic and ate at this restaurant should see their medical provider immediately.”
A food source has not yet been identified. Other E. coli outbreaks have been linked to under-cooked beef, unpasteurized milk, and unwashed, raw produce. Those most at risk of developing an E. coli infection are younger children, seniors, and those with compromised immune systems.