A Studio City woman said she is still recovering a month after getting salmonella poisoning at the popular West Hollywood restaurant Fig & Olive, and wants to let others know how she found out she was infected.
Just one of 12 people connected to a salmonella outbreak at the restaurant on Melrose Place, Nikky Berteau found out about the outbreak from the health department, which was able to get her the care that she needed.
The agency was able to find her because she happened to call and make reservations, leaving her name and phone number in the restaurant’s records.
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"My stomach starts to hurt, cramps," she recalled. "I was nauseous, throwing up. I had a severe headache. Everything bad you could think of was happening at that point."
She never connected her illness to the pricey $600 dinner she and her friends and family enjoyed two days earlier. She assumed it was a stomach virus.
"Basically just locked up in my room in bed throwing up," Berteau said.
Finally she went to a hospital, was tested, put on antibiotics and sent home.
"It just kept getting worse,” she said.
But it would take two more weeks, a loss of 18 pounds and another trip to the hospital before the LA County Department of Public Health tracked her down using her restaurant reservation information.
"You dined at a restaurant that is currently being investigated about an outbreak in salmonella and I said ‘Oh my God, I’m at the hospital,'" Berteau recounted of her conversation with the health agency representative.
She learned there had been multiple cases involving people across the country, more than 150 linked to Fig & Olive restaurants on both coasts.
She also found an attorney.
"He immediately filed a complaint in federal court," Berteau said.
Berteau said she has not heard from Fig & Olive since the illness struck.
"I’m very disappointed that Fig & Olive has not even reached out to me," she said.
NBC4 asked Fig & Olive to comment, and they sent back a written statement that read, in part:
"We are confident we have adequately addressed the situations. We remain committed to delivering the highest quality food and excellence of preparation and service that have become the hallmark of the Fig & Olive brand."
Berteau said that's not enough.
"I want to make sure that this doesn’t happen to anyone else, especially any patron of Fig & Olive."
The health department has cleared Fig & Olive, and although the exact source of the salmonella outbreak has not been revealed, dishes containing truffle oil were removed from the menu.