Health officials close Vancouver restaurant linked to salmonella cases

Health officials close Vancouver restaurant linked to salmonella cases
On the Border in Vancouver has been linked to more than a dozen salmonella cases, health officials said.

VANCOUVER, Wash. – Health officials in Clark County temporarily closed a Vancouver restaurant while they investigate several salmonella cases among customers.

Clark County Public Health spokesman Don Strick said they have 11 confirmed salmonella cases and five probable cases involving patrons of On the Border Mexican Grill, located at 1505 SE 164th Ave.

Salmonella is a common bacterial infection, Strick said. People are most often infected by eating or drinking contaminated food or water. They can also get salmonella from infected people or animals.

It is typically a food-borne illness from contaminated raw poultry, eggs and unpasteurized dairy products.

“We closed the restaurant this morning as a further precaution to reduce the risk of salmonella spreading to others,” said Clark County Health Officer Dr. Alan Melnick.

He said his staff is interviewing employees and patrons to determine the outbreak's source.

"We’re also working with restaurant staff to make sure standard control measures are in place, such as sanitary surfaces and equipment, frequent hand-washing and proper food handling and storage," Melnick said. “Restaurant staff has been very cooperative.”

He said the health department will allow the restaurant to re-open once officials are convinced there is no ongoing risk.

Salmonella symptoms can include severe diarrhea, bloody diarrhea, fever, chills, abdominal discomfort and vomiting. Strick said symptoms usually appear about three days after exposure and most people can recover on their own without medication.

Health officials are testing On the Border employees for salmonella.

Anyone who ate at On the Border between Sept. 20 and Oct. 8 and is experiencing symptoms of salmonella should go to a doctor.

"We take this seriously," Melnick said. "Salmonella can be a serious illness."