Shigella, a bacteria related to salmonella, is one of the leading causes of diarrhea. In 2006, the World Health Organization reported that Shigella causes about 165 million cases of dysentery annually, resulting in about a million deaths every year, mostly children in the developing world. When a Shigella outbreak at a San Jose restaurant poisoned dozens in October, information became instantly available to millions through Yelp.com. With 135 million monthly visitors and millions of restaurant reviews, Yelp provided details about the Shigella outbreak to those who needed it quickly – consumers choosing a restaurant for dinner the same evening.
“PLEASE DO NOT EAT HERE!” one Yelp reviewer pleaded in all capital letters. She explained that four of her family members ate at Mariscos San Juan #3 seafood restaurant, and all four were hospitalized with food poisoning. On October 18, the Santa Clara County Public Health Department shut down the restaurant. Since then, the outbreak has grown to include Alameda, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Marin, and Merced County. On October 26, KGO-TV reported that the number of suspected Shigella cases linked to the restaurant had climbed to 182.
Shigellosis is a contagious diarrheal disease that can be spread when people don’t wash their hands after using the bathroom. More than half-a-million cases are reported in the U.S. each year. Shigellosis can cause severe dehydration or fainting and in some cases is fatal. Some public health professionals believe sites like Yelp can help them pinpoint and respond quickly to similar food poisoning outbreaks in the future.
If you are a food poisoning victim in southern California, after receiving medical treatment, contact an experienced Pasadena product liability lawyer. If you can prove that someone else’s negligence caused you to suffer food poisoning, you are entitled by law to full reimbursement for all of your medical costs and all of your related expenses. In most California food poisoning cases, victims have two years from the date of the injury to file a claim. Don’t wait two years. In a food poisoning case you must act swiftly. Try to retain a sample of the food or have a lab test that proves you ate contaminated food, and contact an experienced Pasadena product liability lawyer as quickly as possible after any food poisoning incident. If you’ve been injured by negligence, compensation is your right, but you must make the call promptly.