32 people now sickened with gastrointestinal illness from Seattle restaurant

Public Health Seattle-King County is investigating an outbreak of a gastrointestinal illness that was contracted at an International District neighborhood restaurant. 

According to the health department, as of Feb. 8, 32 people have reported getting sick after eating food at the Tamarind Tree Restaurant between Jan. 14 and Jan. 16. 

The total number of cases has increased by 15 since FOX 13's last report on Jan. 30. The health department initially reported 10 people showing symptoms between Jan. 17 and Jan. 20.

Health officials say the gastrointestinal illness these customers contracted is known as Shigellosis.

Shigellosis is an infectious disease caused by bacteria called Shigella. Most who are infected with Shigella develop diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps. Some people may have no symptoms. Illness from Shigella usually resolves in 5–7 days but recovered individuals may still spread the bacteria, according to the health department. 

Public Health Environmental Health investigators visited the restaurant on Jan. 24, and they observed, "improper food handling practices, including blocked access to handwashing facilities, improper storage of wiping cloths, risk of cross-contamination, and lack of maintenance, cleaning, and sanitizing of food equipment and physical facilities." 

Investigators closed the restaurant during their visit on Jan. 24, and the restaurant is required to complete a thorough cleaning and disinfection. 

Anyone who has a gastrointestinal illness should not work in or attend childcare or preschool, or work in food handling or healthcare while having vomiting or diarrhea, the health department said. 

Learn more about reporting a possible food-bourne illness in King County here