"Bloody Diarrhea Outbreak" From Federico's Mexican Food Has Hit 52 People, Officials Say
The "bloody diarrhea outbreak" that county officials linked to E. coli at a Federico's Mexican Food location has sickened 52 people, according to the county health department.
According to the Maricopa County Public Health, 18 of those 52 people have been hospitalized.
Reports stating that 64 people were sickened are erroneous, as the health department has since corrected that figure.
The outbreak only came from one Federico's location -- the one in Litchfield Park -- and health officials attribute it to a certain kind of E. coli bacteria: E. coli O157.
That restaurant location voluntarily closed.
Although not every person interviewed by the county health department reported eating at the restaurant, many of them did.
"The investigation remains ongoing and we have all hands on deck to figure out the specific source," health director Dr. Bob England says in a statement.
Still, county court records show multiple people have already filed lawsuits against the parent company of Federico's. The law firm representing these people claims on its blog to be representing more than a dozen of these people.
One of those people, Bryan Clayton, ate at the location on July 27 and 29, and was subsequently hospitalized on August 1 with "grossly bloody bouts of diarrhea," the lawsuit contends.
Clayton had chicken on both occasions, first in tacos, then in a burrito, according to the lawsuit.
The county health department says the illnesses caused by this bacteria "can cause severe illness and, especially in children, can lead to kidney failure and even death."