An E. coli O157:H7 outbreak in the Seattle area has expanded to include nine cases in King and Snohomish counties. Seven people have been hospitalized, at least two of them with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a form of kidney failure associated with E. coli infections. Young children are at the highest risk of developing HUS. In this outbreak, all but one of the patients is under the age of 14 and three of the children under five.
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E. coli O157:H7 causes serious illness because it produces a poison called a Shiga toxin. Symptoms of these infections usually develop three to five days after exposure and include severe abdominal cramps and diarrhea that can be bloody. HUS, which affects between 5 percent and 10 percent of E. coli patients, usually develops one week after initial E.coli symptoms. Anyone with HUS symptoms should seek immediate medical care. HUS symptoms include pale skin, decreased urination, fatigue, unexplained weakness and bruising, fainting and bloody diarrhea,
Other E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks have been linked to undercooked ground beef and other beef products; fresh fruits and vegetables, sprouts and unpasteurized (raw) milk, cheese or juice. Animal exhibits such as petting zoos are also common sources of E. coli outbreaks.
E.coli Cases in King and Snohomish Counties
Last week, Health officials in King County reported a cluster of E. coli O157:H7 illnesses that had sickened seven children ages 14 and under. Six of them were hospitalized, two with HUS. The illnesses were reported between April 22, 2021, and May 1, 2021, so exposure likely occurred between April 17, 2021 and April 29, 2021. After interviewing the parents and guardians of the children, health officials learned that the majority of patients had eaten fresh, mostly organic, produce in the days before they became ill.
Today, the Snohomish Health District announced it had identified two cases of STEC infection that appear to be linked to the King County cases. The Snohomish cases include a woman in her 20s and a child under 10 from separate households. The child has been hospitalized.
If you were sickened in this outbreak and would like a free consultation with an experienced E. coli lawyer, please contact the Pritzker Hageman E. coli Legal Team. We have represented clients in every major E. coli outbreak in the U.S. including those who battled HUS and families who suffered the wrongful death of a loved one. You can reach us by calling 1-888-377-8900, sending a text to 612-261-0856, or by completing the form below. There is no obligation and we don’t get paid unless we win.