By Jory Lange
Seven children in Seattle and King County have developed E. coli O157 infections in a suspected E. coli outbreak. Seattle & King County Public Health is investigating a new cluster of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli infections. E. coli cases were reported between April 22 and May 1. All of the children affected in the Seattle E. coli outbreak have been under 14 years old. Three were under 5 years old. Six children were hospitalized. One child developed a type of kidney injury called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). A second child may also have developed HUS.
Seattle & King County Public Health are interviewing the children’s parents to identify any restaurants, foods, or other potential sources of infection they may have had in common. A common source of infection has not yet been identified. Seattle & King County Public Health is also working with the Washington State Department of Health to conduct additional testing to help identify potentially related cases in other Washington counties. The investigation is ongoing.
Public Health message
Seattle & King County Public Health advise that, “If you or your child develop painful or bloody diarrhea, diarrhea that lasts more than 3 days or is accompanied by a high fever or decreased urine, contact your healthcare provider to see if testing for STEC is indicated. STEC and other foodborne infections occur throughout the year but may increase in frequency during late spring and summer months. Anyone ill with suspected or known STEC should not work in or attend childcare or preschool, or work in food handling or healthcare until cleared by Public Health.”
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