9 sick in Snohomish and King counties.  All under the age of 15, except one woman in her 20’s.

Question:  what food items are consumed by kids as young as 1 and someone in their 20’s?

The Snohomish Health District announced Tuesday evening that it has identified two cases of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) in Snohomish County residents. Following public health interviews, these cases do appear to be connected to a cluster of STEC cases among seven children in King County.

The local cases involve a woman in her 20s and a child under 10 years of age from separate households. The child has been hospitalized, but no further information will be shared on the cases due to patient privacy.

Seattle King County Public Health is investigating a cluster of seven children infected with Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (also known as STEC) in King County. All cases are currently under 15 years of age, and three are under 5 years of age. Cases have been reported during April 22–May 1, 2021.

All 7 children developed symptoms consistent with STEC, including diarrhea (often bloody), abdominal cramping, nausea, and vomiting. Illness onsets occurred during April 17–29, 2021. Six children have been hospitalized; this includes two children who developed a type of kidney complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) and both are recovering.

The investigation is ongoing. They have identified multiple types of fresh produce, mostly organic, in common among the majority of cases but cannot yet rule out other possibilities. They are still uncertain if these cases share the same source of their infection or not. Updates will continue to be posted when more information is available.

Hmm, what fresh produce would a 1 year old eat? Bananas, apples, grapes, small oranges, pears, peaches, blueberries – strawberries perhaps?  Thus far the outbreak seems to be limited to the two counties, so it does beg the question what produce might be available locally this time of year?

It does remind me of a Northwest outbreak of a few years ago.

In 2011 an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 was linked to eating fresh strawberries produced by Jaquith Strawberry Farm, in Oregon. 15 people were sickened and there was 1 death. The farm sold berries to buyers who in turn distributed them to roadside stands and farmers’ markets in Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas, Yamhill, and Clatsop counties. The berries were sold in unmarked containers and were last distributed on August 1. Confirmed cases included residents of Washington, Clatsop, and Multnomah counties. Strawberries had not previously been implicated in an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak in the U.S. Ten percent of the environmental samples collected at the Jaquith Strawberry Farm tested positive for E. coli O157:H7. Those samples included deer feces; deer were suspected to be the source of the contamination. The outbreak strain was found in samples from fields in three separate locations.