Diarrhea outbreak investigated in Phoenix area - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Diarrhea outbreak investigated in Phoenix area

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Valley residents, some just teens, are hospitalized with serious conditions, like kidney failure -- all related to an E. coli outbreak at a restaurant in the west valley.

That restaurant has closed for the time being.

One woman told us a 15-year-old family friend is at Phoenix Children's Hospital with kidney failure as a result of the outbreak.

The Maricopa County Department of Public Health confirms some are having that complication, but right now, they don't know exactly what food caused the outbreak.

"It's not like this is a rare thing, but this is quite an outbreak in terms of a cluster of people all at once," said Dr. Bob England, director of MCDPH.

England says an E. coli outbreak has sickened 15 valley residents and some are having very serious complications.

"The complication we most worry about is something called hemolytic uremic syndrome -- that's where the kidney's shut down."

Dr. England confirms some patients do have kidney failure or are in the stages of it.

"That's what actually got our attention right away.. hearing people hospitalized and were that sick and that's when we knew what we we're probably dealing with and have been scrambling for more than 24 hours now, trying to get our arms around it best we can."

MCDPH says the outbreak appears to be linked to the Federico's Mexican restaurant at 13132 W. Camelback Road in Litchfield Park.

People with illnesses reported eating at the restaurant July 23 or 24.

"Symptoms are overwhelmingly cramping, sometimes vomiting and bloody diarrhea, it doesn't have a lot else to it," explained England.

England says it could take anywhere from three to 10 days after eating contaminated food for the illness to set in.

"We're afraid a lot more people may have been exposed and we want to make sure anybody who's sick get the treatment they need to make sure they don't get in trouble."

England says the illness typically runs its course within a week unless people are hospitalized with kidney failure.

An investigation is underway and food samples were taken.

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