SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Customers at a South Bay restaurant ended up in a hospital intensive care unit after getting food poisoning. Mariscos San Juan on North 4th Street in San Jose was shut down Sunday after the health department received reports of 30 people getting sick; half of them are confirmed to have Shigella.
The North 4th Street location is one of three in San Jose. Customers rated Mariscos in Downtown San Jose 3.5 stars on Yelp, but the latest reviews are the worst yet with people complaining they became severely ill after eating the shrimp cocktail.
The news is a surprise for customers who have been dining here for years enjoying what the restaurant advertises as the best seafood in the Bay Area.
Customer Eli Sanchez said he has never been sickened by the food at the restaurant in the past. He told ABC7 News, "Yeah, we've been coming here for a long time and this is the first time we ever heard anything like that."
Eleven people are now so sick they're in the ICU. The Santa Clara County Health Department is investigating the Shigella outbreak, including the possibility someone on the staff may have spread the bacteria, which is said to be similar to Salmonella.
"Shigella is quite, quite infectious. If you have Shigella, you should not be taking care of children, taking care of elderly and certainly not preparing and serving food for others," Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody said.
Anna Aguilar and her mother-in-law, Josefina Alfonso, both got sick. They told us by phone management denied they had anything to do with it.
"My husband contacted the owner yesterday and the owner was very rude. He told my husband no, that we must have ate something the night before or during that week," Aguilar said.
The health department said Mariscos did not have previous violations.
The symptoms include diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps starting a day or two after being exposed to the bacteria. The symptoms usually go away in 5-10 days. Shigella can be stopped by frequent and careful hand-washing with soap.