Orange County health officials confirm 14th E. coli caseApr 9, 2007 | AP A new case of E. coli infection linked to a Souplantation restaurant has been identified, bringing to 14 the total number of people who have tested positive for the dangerous bacterium, Orange County health officials said Monday.
The new case, involving an adult customer who was not hospitalized, was reported late Sunday, said Orange County Health Care Agency spokesman Howard Sutter.
Three adults and 10 children infected with E. coli had eaten at the Souplantation in Lake Forest between March 23 or March 25. Among them was a 12-year-old girl, who remained hospitalized Monday in good condition, said Denise Almazan, a Children's Hospital of Orange County spokeswoman.
A Souplantation employee who did not report any symptoms or illness also tested positive for E. coli.
Officials were trying to determine the source of the outbreak.
Meanwhile, the serve-yourself salad-buffet restaurant remained close while its approximately 40 employees complete tests to determine whether they were infected. The Health Care Agency has suspended the restaurant's permit as a precaution.
E. coli can be found in the intestines of people and animals and is usually harmless but can sicken people through various routes and to varying degrees.
People can become infected if they eat contaminated food that is not cooked sufficiently to kill the bacteria. It can also be passed from person to person if someone does not wash their hands properly after using the restroom or changing diapers. Symptoms usually start three or four days after exposure.