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Health officials in Colorado are investigating a Salmonella outbreak in which at least 10 people have been sickened by food produced by Burrito Delight restaurant.
Carrie Hanley, the Weld County director of community health services, has warned residents that this “has the potential to be a large outbreak.” More cases are likely to be confirmed soon.
At least 10 confirmed cases have been linked to food served by Burrito Delight at two outside events and one restaurant. The catered events were held Feb. 9 and Feb. 13 at Aims Community College in Fort Lupton.
Of the confirmed cases, seven people live in Weld County, two in Larimer, and one in Boulder County.
Five cases are linked to events at Aims: one from a Feb. 9 event attended by roughly 70 people and another four from a Feb. 13 event attended by 400 people. According to a spokesperson for the community college, the events were for employee training.
Two cases may be linked to different work functions catered by Burrito Delight. The others are linked to eating at the Fort Lupton Burrito Delight (1230 Denver Ave.), where two children contracted salmonellosis. One child was hospitalized; their condition is unknown.
Officials are investigating several unconfirmed cases.
Burrito Delight has been hit with 22 red violations during five inspections since late 2015. According to the health department, red violations are those “more likely than other violations to contribute to food contamination or illness.”
In its last regular inspection, Weld County public health officials rated both the Burrito Delight in Fort Lupton and its sister location in Dacono, CO, as “marginal.”
Debra Adamson, the Weld County director of environmental health services, said Burrito Delight’s Fort Lupton restaurant was found with numerous violations when inspected Thursday:
- a dead mouse on a sticky trap behind a reach-in cooler
- food held at improper temperatures
- employees failing to wash their hands and drinking beverages next to unprepared food.
Weld County closed both Burrito Delight locations, which are north of Denver, pending the outcome of its investigation. The restaurants can reopen under four conditions:
- The facility must be disinfected.
- Staff must test negative for Salmonella – if that does not occur, the restaurant must recruit new staff.
- Food must be replaced or eligible to be released from embargo.
- Reopening inspection must be in compliance with state regulations.
Salmonella infections are common in the United States, according to statistics compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Salmonella annually sickens about 1 million Americans, with 19,000 victims requiring hospitalization and 380 victims dying.
Salmonella produces an illness called salmonellosis, symptoms for which usually present within 12 to 36 hours after eating tainted food. Symptoms can present as early as six hours or as late as three days after ingestion.
Symptoms usually last four to seven days, and most people recover on their own. Those symptoms are numerous; they can include:
- diarrhea, which is often bloody
- abdominal pain
- muscle pains.