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Families say they're still sick a week after eating La Carretas: DHEC launches investigation

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCBD) - A Summerville restaurant is temporarily closed down after several people say they got sick after eating there. 


News 2 confirmed the Department of Health received complaints from patrons of the La Carreta Restaurant in Summerville.


“We have interviewed individuals who have reported being ill,” an agency spokesperson told News 2 Wednesday.


"We normally just go out after guitar practice," Jessica Munday said. 


Munday says her Wednesday evening routine is taking her four children to guitar practice and then grabbing a bite to eat. Last Wednesday, her family went to La Carreta.


"We had nachos, salsa, and went home as normal," Munday said. 


Then Thursday came. 


"Two kids just all of sudden started baring. I immediately scooped everyone up and headed home," she said.


On their ride home, two children turned into four. 


"Then the third went down, then the fourth, it was horrible," she said. "Then I went down and 20 minutes later it got my husband." 


A family of six, all sick, and they aren't the only ones. 


"You couldn't get in the bathroom in my house," Susan March said. 


Susan and her daughter Samantha Marsh say they are regulars at La Carreta. They too were at the restaurant last Wednesday and say they were sick 24 hours later. 


"I had no idea what was going on," Samantha said. "I was throwing up, I was dehydrated."


Susan says it all made sense once she heard the news. 


"News came out today and I put two and two together and it was that dinner, that's what made them sick," Susan said. 


The Department of Health and Environmental Control launched an investigation Wednesday. 


So far the agency confirmed 10 reported illnesses. The symptoms reported to DHEC suggest a viral gastrointestinal illness, according to an agency spokesperson.  DHEC confirmed they are still investigating a possible cause.


DHEC made an on-site visit on December 3, 2018. At that time, inspectors instructed the management to initiate a thorough, deep cleaning of the restaurant.  Ill employees were instructed not to report to work.


“DHEC is working with the facility through a temporary closure process as they implement our recommendations,” a spokesperson told Count on 2 investigator Rebecca Collett.


Viral gastrointestinal illnesses are very contagious and can cause vomiting and diarrhea, according to the agency. Infection can be spread by direct contact with an ill person, consuming contaminated food or beverage, and or touching contaminated surfaces. 


The best way to prevent viral gastrointestinal infection is to wash your hands before eating or preparing food, handle and prepare food safely, and clean and disinfect surfaces. 

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