SUMMERVILLE, SC (WCSC) - A Mexican restaurant in Summerville has closed temporarily after 10 people became ill.
The La Carreta restaurant on 1580 Old Trolley Road is closed after several customers complained about being ill, according to officials with DHEC.
A sign on the front door of the business states,"Voluntarily closing until further notice. Sorry for the inconvenience. -Management."
An inspector with DHEC was spotted at the business Wednesday afternoon.
DHEC officials say they have interviewed people who have reported being ill, and at this time they are aware of 10 reported illnesses.
“The symptoms reported suggest a viral gastrointestinal illness and we are continuing our investigation for a possible cause,” DHEC officials said in a statement.
DHEC made an on-site visit on Monday, and instructed the management regarding a recommended thorough, deep cleaning of the restaurant and exclusion of any ill employees.
“DHEC is working with the facility through a temporary closure process as they implement our recommendations,” DHEC officials said.
According to DHEC officials, viral gastrointestinal illnesses are very contagious and can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
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,” DHEC officials said.
Amber Widener says she got sick at La Carreta after eating there.
Widener says she was violently ill for about 12 hours.
“Just vomiting, over and over again, literally like every hour on the hour," Widener said."It would relent for a little bit and then it would come back on, and it was horrible.”
Widener has been a regular customer at La Carreta.
“We’ve been eating there for 17 years to the tune of at least once a week, sometimes twice a week," she said.
Last Friday night, Widener, some family members and friends went to the restaurant. Widener said she had a burrito and refried beans.
She started feeling ill early Saturday morning.
“It woke me from my sleep, and I was sick until I think the last time I got sick was 11:30 Sunday morning," Widener said."So it was almost close to 12 hours of continuous sickness. Here it is Wednesday, and I still get waves of nausea every now and then. I did eat a meal today for the first time.”
Widener says if the restaurant is allowed to reopen she’s not going back.
“I’m glad that it’s closed," she said."We love the place. We hate to see that happen but I just think that until they figure out what’s going on, what the source of it is, it’s just the safest thing to do.”
Anyone who believes they got sick from eating at La Carreta should contact DHEC.