An E. coli O157:H7 outbreak in King County, WA has sickened at least three people. Health officials are working to identify cases in other counties. Two people said they ate raw or undercooked beef before they became ill.
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Symptoms of an E. coli infection, which include abdominal cramps and diarrhea that can be bloody, usually develop within one to three days of exposure. The people sickened in this outbreak reported the onset of illness on dates ranging from September 21 – October 12, 2022. They are from three different households and range in age from 18 to 36 years old.
Genetic fingerprinting tests performed on the E. coli cultured from each patient indicate that they all were sickened by the same genetic strain. This means they all were likely exposed to a common source of infection.
Health officials visited two of the locations where outbreak patients ate before they became ill and collected environmental swabs. Results processes so far have not been positive for the outbreak strain. The results of additional tests are pending.
State health and agriculture officials are working with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA FSIS) to identify related cases in other counties and begin a traceback investigation to find the source of contamination.
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