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Salmonella Lawyer | Pasha Mediterranean Grill

This week has seen a devastating outbreak of Salmonella in San Antonio, Texas. The Lone Star State has been facing up to a Salmonella food poisoning outbreak that has left diners who dined at the San Antonio Pasha Mediterranean Grill, located at 9339 Wurzbach Road, struggling with foodborne illness. The popular chain specializing in mediterranean food, with four locations in the San Antonio area (plus a bakery and a cafe), has been operating for over ten years in the city. Pasha’s four locations serve an average of several thousand customers a day, and it must be noted that none of the other locations are affected.

The situation has been worsening as time has progressed with more cases becoming known to the authorities with the number’s affected climbing. 300 phone calls were made to the Metro Health as of 4 p.m Friday 7th September. The San Antonio Metropolitan Health District (SAMHD) has been trying to manage the epidemic on the ground and ensure the safety of those affected. The latest figures released by the SAMHD illustrate the severity of the situation. There are currently 255 cases reported from the outbreak with 12 hospitalized victims. Of these cases, 14 victims have shown laboratory evidence of being sickened by Salmonella, Metropolitan Health District spokeswoman Carol Schlesinger said.

Metro Health is taking the necessary precautions to advise seeking medical care to those affected. According to the latest reports, 255 of the 300 phone calls came from people who said they became ill after eating at Pasha between August 30 and 5 September. Metro Health director, Dr. Colleen Bridger, said that although the agency knows Salmonella is the issue, “we don’t know where it came from: food handlers, or whether it came from the food that was being served, or both.” Managing the outbreak correctly is key to ensure that the illness does not spread amongst families.

Salmonella bacteria can cause salmonellosis, a common foodborne illness for Americans. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that of the 1.2 million Americans left ill from Salmonella each year, 1 million of these are due to contaminated food. The illness develops anywhere from 12 to 72 hours after consumption of contaminated food with symptoms lasting up to a week. Of the 1.2 million yearly cases, 23,000 victims will be hospitalized and 450 of these will die. This shows the severity of the salmonellosis illness and the potential for hospitalization or even death. However, most people recover completely without needing medical treatment.

To understand the situation better, the inspection report provides vital information that brings to light the food safety precautions taken by Pasha. The commissioned report states that employees at the chain on Wurzback Road were not changing their gloves or washing hands between tasks, with meats stored at temperatures higher than the required maximum. These food safety hazards have conspired to leave diners now facing up to a Salmonella nightmare. Food safety guidelines are implemented by food safety authorities, such as Metro Health to ensure that diners are protected from foodborne illnesses.

Pasha has aided the inspectors throughout the process with Bilal Deiri, Pasha’s director of operations, stating that inspectors have been walking the restaurant through the process since the first inspection on 3 September,  with Metro Health advising Pasha what they should do and how to handle everything. All food in the restaurant is made from scratch with workers puzzled at the origin of the outbreak.

Inspectors have been tirelessly working to find the source and believe hummus is the likely culprit. Managers of Pasha told news agency KSAT that all raw chicken and beef were discarded as a precautionary measure, and that other violations were corrected with inspectors. Metro Health has previously inspected Pasha for food safety, visiting the establishment in May. That visit received a score of 78 out of 100. Violations that contributed to points deducted include failure to state “employees must wash hands” in the restrooms, hand-washing water that was too cold, food kept without expiration dates, lack of a certified food protection manager and black residue left in the ice machine. This inspection in May is extremely worrying and indicates that the conditions in the establishment had drastically deteriorated. In inspections dating back to 2014, Pasha received scores of 90 or higher. Easily avoided violations manifested into a terrible score that shows us that an outbreak like this was possible.

Moving forward, Texans who dined at Pasha Grill are urged to take precaution and monitor their health. Given the speed of the outbreak and the potential for it spreading, it is likely that more cases will be emerge in the coming days. Anyone who has fallen sick after eating at the Wurzbach Road location is being urged by authorities to seek immediate medical attention and call 311 to report the illness. Metro Health advises affected diners to see a doctor immediately to avoid becoming dehydrated. Early medical attention could help reduce the likelihood of long-term complications.

The outbreak of Salmonella at Pasha Grill shows the speed and ease for foodborne illness to spread amongst diners when food becomes contaminated. Upholding the firmest food safety standards is imperative to protect customers. The current perceived culprit of the Salmonella outbreak is contaminated hummus sold at Pasha, with 300 phone calls posing challenges for Metro Health in keeping the perilous situation under control.

Our Salmonella Lawyer is Here to Help You

If you believe you have developed Salmonella after eating at Pasha Mediterranean Grill in San Antonio, we want you to know that a Salmonella lawyer at the Lange Law Firm, PLLC is currently investigating this matter, helping several families already involved in the outbreak, and offering free legal consultations. Our lawyer, Jory Lange, grew up in San Antonio, Texas, and became a lawyer to help make our communities and families safer.

If you or a loved one have become ill after eating at Pasha Mediterranean Grill, you can call 833.330.3663 for a free consultation or complete the form here.

By: Billy Rayfield, Contributing Writer (Non-Lawyer)

September 10, 2018
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Latest Discovery – Repeated Food Poisoning Can Trigger Chronic Diseases

A new startling discovery from a California-based team of researchers has pointed out that small bacterial infections, such as those that occur during mild food poisoning and are treated without any antibiotics, can start a chain of events inside your body and lead to chronic inflammation in gut and can also cause life threatening colitis. These mild infections, such as E. coliand Salmonella, sometimes go unnoticed, but a breakthrough research has now proven the consequences it might have on us in the long term. The discovery was published in Scienceand revealed how the past history of minor bacterial infections can ultimately lead to cause a severe inflammatory disease. These new findings might be able to decipher the origins of Irritable Bowel Syndrome whose origins have been quite mysterious.

Researchers worked for a total of 8 years until they found out that Recurrent Food Poisoning can trigger a pro-inflammatory enzyme that can, in turn, hamper the body’s ability to be able to detoxify resident normal gut bacteria. The California team of researchers that were led by Jamey Marth of UC Santa Barbara’s Centre of Nanomedicine and Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute hypothesized that continuous low level bacterial infections can in long term lead to some chronic disease. Other lead authors included were Michael Mahan, Douglas Heithoff, Peter Aziz, Won Ho Yang. The research was done in collaboration with Victor Nizet of UC San Diego and Markus Spendario of Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich. Trying to determine the underlying cause of a disease is crucial as it can lead to more effective and rational preventions, research, and treatment in the field.

The Research Work:

HypothesisThe hypothesis for the experiment was based on multiple clues. First was the genetic makeup of an individual playing a limited role in the onset of Inflammatory Bowel disease and also, twins showing low concordance of developing IBD’s individually. Such findings made it increasingly evident for some other factors influencing the onset of inflammatory diseases in humans.

Second, there were several studies that pointed out that repeated seasonal infections in some individuals were correlated with increased diagnosis of IBD.

Experiment: The researchers started off by developing a model using healthy mice of mild food poisoning. They were administered a very low dose of a common bacterial pathogen called Salmonella Typhimurium. This organism is quite widespread throughout the environment and remains the leading cause of foodborne illnesses in the US. Salmonella is responsible for around 1 million foodborne illnesses that occur in the US each year. The most common symptoms of Salmonella include some temporary intestinal discomfort and dysfunction which generally do not require any treatment. Majority of Salmonella infections are not reported which means that the number of times an individual contracts an infection is a lot underestimated.

The bacteria was fed to the mice from every four weeks to 6 months. The dose of Salmonella that was given was so low that there were no significant symptoms or deaths in the mice and the Salmonella was successfully eliminated by the host. So, the reaction was initially asymptomatic but as the feedings were increased, the mice became increasingly symptomatic.

This type of study was one of its kind and has never been done before. The results were quite surprising as well. There was an onset of progressive and irreversible inflammatory disease due to previous infection which had been already completely eliminated by the host.

By the time of the fourth infection (they were separated by months apart from the previous ones) – inflammation has slowly and steadily increased throughout the infections and all the subjects were suffering from colitis. And to the surprise of the scientists, the disease did not show any improvements despite the cessation of repeated infections. This meant that the damage was already done.

Why this happens?

Salmonella has figured out a way to disrupt one of the unknown protective mechanisms of the gut that helps in preventing intestinal inflammation. The underlying cause of the disease is as follows: Cells in the duodenum (the first part of the small intestine) was no longer producing IAP or intestinal alkaline phosphatase. IAP is responsible for detoxifying the harmful lipopolysaccharide (LPS) toxin that is produced by Salmonella or any other gram-negative bacteria. It transforms LPS from toxic to non-toxic state. This happens because Salmonella induces another enzyme called Neuraminidase (Neu), resulting in IAP deficiency. Neu activity accelerates the molecular aging and turnover of IAP, which leads to IAP deficiency in colon.

However, the good news is that there are ways that can easily boost up the IAP levels and inhibit neuraminidase activity in the colon. A potential treatment that was done during the experiment was feeding the mice with calf intestinal alkaline phosphatase (cIAP) showed positive effects both for normalization of levels and preventing the animals from developing symptoms. So, basically there are existing methods to cure the root of this problem. IAP augmentation is a fairly simple process too. The inhibition of Neuraminidase (Neu) can easily be achieved by using currently marketed anti-viral neuraminidase inhibitor. It is a drug that is currently used to prevent influenza viral infections.

This is a striking discovery in the field of food science. IBD and colitis that is induced by recurrent infections can be easily prevented by giving alkaline phosphatase or antiviral. Even though it still remains unclear on whether or not the treatment would be effective after the chronic inflammation has developed.

In a recent article in Forbes magazine concerning the study, Dr. Marth explained, “Remarkably, Salmonellae have figured out a way to disrupt a previously unknown protective mechanism in the gut that normally prevents intestinal inflammation.” In the same interview, Dr. Yang added, “We observed the onset of a progressive and irreversible inflammatory disease caused by previous infections. That was quite surprising because the pathogen had been easily cleared by the host.” The article went on to quote Dr. Mahan that “others have recently reported IAP deficiencies and high neuraminidase levels in IBD patients.” As more studies unfold, science is starting to see more and more patterns related to food borne illnesses and long-term complications stemming from them.

By: Pooja Sharma, Contributing Writer (Non-Lawyer)

April 8, 2018
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