On the Border to reopen Monday after salmonella outbreak

Public Health lifts restaurant closure order



After a six-day closure because of a salmonella outbreak, Clark County Public Health on Sunday lifted the restriction for the On the Border restaurant, 1505 S.E. 164th Ave.

Restaurant employees said the eatery, closed Oct. 9, would be back in business at 4 p.m. Monday.

“We believe there is no longer a risk of salmonella transmission to the public,” Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County Health Officer, said in a press release. “All restaurant surfaces and equipment have been inspected, cleaned and sanitized, and all potentially contaminated foods have been removed. All restaurant employees have been tested for salmonella and those free of infection have been cleared to return to work. This has been a challenging time for everyone involved, especially those who became ill. We appreciate the cooperation of restaurant staff and management through this process and are pleased that the restaurant can now reopen.”

Melnick said there have been 23 confirmed and 54 probable cases of salmonella linked to the outbreak. The cases involve mostly adult customers who visited the On the Border restaurant between Sept. 20 and Oct. 8. Of the four people who were hospitalized, three have been released.

Five restaurant food handlers and at least one child were among those who tested positive for salmonella, Melnick said. He said a source of the outbreak has not been identified.

Melnick said Sunday evening that he wanted to be cautious about any implication a food handler caused the problem.

“The infected workers could have obtained their infection the same way the consumers could have,” Melnick said, by contaminated food or hygiene.

Last week, Melnick told The Columbian, “Whatever the source was, it was present until just before we closed it.”

A call to the restaurant’s human relations department on Sunday was not returned. An employee at the restaurant said he was not authorized to talk about the closure.

Salmonella symptoms can include diarrhea (sometimes bloody), fever, chills, abdominal discomfort and vomiting. The symptoms generally appear one to three days after exposure. Most people recover on their own without treatment.

Salmonella is a common bacterial infection. People are most often infected by eating or drinking contaminated food or water, or by contact with infected people or animals.

Salmonella is typically a food-borne illness acquired from contaminated raw poultry, eggs, and unpasteurized milk and cheese products. It can get on food or other objects and then into someone else’s mouth, which can result in infection. People infected with salmonella can pass it on to others if they haven’t washed their hands, particularly after using the bathroom, Melnick said.