Marler Clark, the Seattle law firm that has represented thousands of victims of E. coli poisoning, has learned that the Deschutes County Public Health Department is investigating the source of an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak that originated at McGrath’s Fish House in Bend. Two cases have been confirmed by the health department, and at least 18 other people presented with symptoms of E. coli infection, but their illnesses have not yet been confirmed. Health officials are interviewing patrons and food-workers to determine which foods served at the restaurant between October 12 and October 18 were associated with illness.
Recent E. coli outbreaks in other states have been traced to contaminated ground beef and prepackaged lettuce. One Oregon resident has been tied to the Dole lettuce outbreak that has primarily hit Minnesota. “It is important that restaurant operators, in addition to health officials, be aware of the number of E. coli outbreaks and illnesses occurring around the country for possible connections to the Bend outbreak,” said William Marler, managing partner of Marler Clark. (For news on E. coli outbreaks, visit
The bacterium, which first became widely known during the 1993 Jack in the Box outbreak that was traced to undercooked hamburgers, has since been linked to products such as apple juice, lettuce, spinach, sprouts, and cantaloupe. (See
When ingested, E. coli O157:H7 attaches itself to the inside surface of the large intestine and causes inflammation of the intestinal wall. Symptoms of E. coli infection typically appear within 2-10 days, and include severe stomach cramping, followed by diarrhea, which can become grossly bloody. Children, the elderly, and persons with weakened immune systems are most at-risk for developing E. coli infection and Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome, a complication that can lead to kidney failure (see
“With recent outbreaks generating significant media coverage, restaurant owners and operators should be particularly vigilant in ensuring their suppliers follow accepted food safety practices, and that food-workers are taking the necessary precautions to prevent illness among their patrons,” said William Marler, managing partner of Marler Clark.