Number of possible E. coli cases linked to Alexander Co. restaurant rises to 100

TAYLORSVILLE, N.C. — The Health Department said about 100 people have reported getting sick after a possible outbreak of enteropathogenic E. coli at Mexico Viejo in Alexander County.

One person tested positive for enteropathogenic E.coli, or EPEC, after dining at the restaurant on Highway 90 in Taylorsville, health officials said.

On Friday, health officials reported 30 possible cases, but that number grew to about 100 Monday.

[Mexico Viejo inspection report]

Last week Manager Arnulfo Martinez walked us through the kitchen to show the safety precautions employees take.

Martinez said he didn't know know what caused the outbreak, but the Health Department said most people got sick after eating chicken dishes.

The affected customers told health department officials they are recovering.

Alexander County Health Director Leeanne Whisnant said environmental health specialists were sent to inspect the restaurant on Friday.

Enteropathogenic E. coli is bacteria that causes severe stomach cramps, diarrhea that is often bloody, vomiting and sometimes a low-grade fever, according to health officials.

The restaurant is being cooperative, officials said.

Officials are asking customers who ate at Mexico Viejo Wednesday and have experienced symptoms to call the Health Department.

We obtained the last three inspection reports for Mexico Viejo.

Each time the restaurant was given a score of 96, which is an A.