The Maricopa County Departments of Public Health and Environmental Services in collaboration with the Arizona Department of Health Services is investigating an outbreak that appears to be linked to the Federico’s Mexican Restaurant located at 13132 W Camelback.
So far, at least 11 of the 15 individuals with bloody diarrhea that MCDPH has been able to interview have either purchased food from or eaten at this particular Federico’s. MCDPH has also received preliminary laboratory results indicating that the bacteria causing the illness is E. coli O157.
“Just to be clear, it is only this one Federico’s establishment where many of the cases have reported eating or purchasing food,” said Dr Bob England, director of MCDPH. “The investigation remains ongoing and we have all hands on deck to figure out the specific source.”
The Maricopa County Environmental Services Department (MCESD) responded by inspecting the facility immediately and taking food samples. “The restaurant has been extremely cooperative with our investigation. In fact, out of an abundance of caution and concern for their customers, the restaurant is voluntarily closing,” said Steven Goode, deputy director for MCESD.
Anyone who has eaten at this particular Federico’s Mexican Food from on or after July 23 AND is experiencing bloody diarrhea should see a healthcare provider so a stool culture can be ordered. Options for people without a health care provider include urgent care centers or community health centers.
The illness appears to be caused by a class of bacteria that produces a toxin. This toxin can cause severe illness and, especially in children, can lead to kidney failure and even death.
It is important for health care providers to be aware of this outbreak because treating children with antibiotics for this bacteria can increase the risk of serious consequences. Providers who have patients who they suspect may be related to this outbreak should order a stool culture and contact MCDPH’s disease reporting line at 602-747-7500.
“Unfortunately, there is still much to uncover about this outbreak such as what specific food may have been contaminated, how the food was contaminated and how many people have been exposed. As we discover this information, we will continue to share with the public,” England added.