Girl infected in Weld County salmonella outbreak hospitalized for 10 days

FORT LUPTON, Colo. -- Health officials in Weld County are continuing to sound the alarm on what they said could be a large outbreak of salmonella infections.

As of Friday,  people are confirmed to have the bacteria linked to food at Burrito Delight -- two restaurants in Fort Lupton and Dacono.

Both Burrito Delight locations remained closed Thursday as a public health investigation progressed.

Rosie Montes, 11, returned home Wednesday night after spending 10 days in two separate Denver-area hospitals for children.

“I had vomiting and diarrhea,” the girl said.

At first, doctors thought Montes needed to have her appendix taken out, according to her mother.

Montes tested positive for salmonella after the unnecessary surgery, her family said.

The family said symptoms for the girl started hours after eating at Burrito Delight in Fort Lupton on Feb. 10.

Public health officials in Weld County are investigating Montes' illness and more than a dozen others.

The county confirmed 12 cases on Friday -- many of which are linked to Burrito Delight catering events at Aims Community College in Greeley.

“This investigation is ongoing as we continue to identify additional cases and sources of infection,” a Weld County public health official said during a news conference on Thursday.

The two Burrito Delight locations voluntarily closed per recommendation of the health department.

Inspections at both locations found violations involving temperature control, food storage, neglect to wash hands and evidence of rodent presence.

It is unknown if any of those violations were connected to the outbreak.

The locations are not allowed to reopen until food is satisfactory, kitchens are disinfected and employees test negative for salmonella or a new crew is in place, according to health code regulators.

Doctors warn that salmonella can be deadly, a fact that made Montes' family very nervous.

“She even had to get on oxygen,” Maria Montes said.

Montes' kidneys stopped functioning correctly while she was hospitalized.

“I felt bad,” Rosie Montes said. "I didn’t feel like myself. I wasn’t me. I changed -- my body changed.”

Rosie Montes is expected to make a full recovery. Maria Montes, a single mother of four, had to take two weeks off work to care for her daughter.

The Weld County Department of Public Health and Environment said confirming more cases could take another two weeks because of wait times on test results.

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