September 16, 2021

Washington E. coli Outbreak Spreads to Four Counties, at Least Six Sick

The Washington E. coli outbreak has now spread to four counties with at least six confirmed cases, according to the Washington State Department of Health (DOH). This E. coli O157:H7 outbreak may be linked to fresh produce.

Washington E. coli Outbreak Spreads to Four Counties, at Least Six Sick

The official case count stands at six, even though the individual county health departments are reporting higher totals. King County says it has seven cases, while Snohomish County claims two. Benton and Walla Walla Counties claim four patients, for a total of 13 patients. The difference is that the Washington DOH only reports confirmed cases infected with E. coli O157:H7 that have been genetically linked, while the cases the counties are reporting may still be under investigation.

In the official state case count, there is one case between the ages of 0 and 9, two cases in the age range 10 to 19, one case aged 20 to 29, and one case aged 70 to 79. Three of these patients have been hospitalized, and one patient has developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which is a complication of this infection that is a type of kidney failure.

All of the cases in King County are under the age of 15. Officials in that county have investigated multiple types of fresh produce, mostly organic, in common with most of the patients, but they can’t rule out other possibilities yet.

Acting State Health Officer Scott Lindquist said in a statement, “This outbreak is a reminder of the importance of food safety from farm to fork, especially fresh produce. We can all help reduce E. coli O157:H7 infections by washing our hands properly, scrubbing produce before eating, cooking foods thoroughly and choosing pasteurized milk products. E. coli O157:H7 infections can cause serious complications, so make sure to contact your health care provider right away if you notice symptoms, especially bloody diarrhea.”

The state health department is coordinating with local jurisdictions to find cases related to the outbreak using genetic testing of the pathogen and investigating causes. They are interviewing cases, looking for commonalities, and working with local and federal partners to conduct traceback.

Lawyer Fred Pritzker

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with food poisoning, you can contact Fred Pritzker for help by calling 1-888-377-8900 or 612-338-0202.

Noted food safety attorney Fred Pritzker, who has filed many lawsuits in E. coli cases, said, “It’s important that the state health department is now involved in this outbreak investigation. We hope that they can solve this mystery and prevent any more of these tragic illnesses.”

Symptoms of an E. coli O157:H7 infection include a mild fever, vomiting and nausea, severely painful abdominal cramps, and diarrhea that is usually bloody. Patients usually start feeling sick three to four days after exposure to the pathogen.

Symptoms of HUS include little or no urine output, lethargy, pale skin, easy bruising, and a skin rash. Anyone experiencing any of these symptoms should see a doctor as soon as possible, since this infection and complications can be life-threatening.

In the past, E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks have been linked to fresh produce, especially romaine lettuce and leafy greens; raw flour; raw sprouts; salad blends; ground beef; soy nut butter; and exposure to animals. This infection can be spread person-to-person, which is why personal hygiene is so important.

If you or anyone else in your family has been ill with these symptoms, see your doctor. You may be part of this Washington E. coli outbreak.

The Food Poisoning Attorneys At Pritzker Hageman 1-888-377-8900

If you or a loved one have been sickened with an E. coli infection or HUS, please contact our experienced lawyers for help at 1-888-377-8900 or 612-338-0202.

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