Washington part of multi-state E. coli outbreak linked to packaged salads

The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) confirmed Thursday that the state is part of an E. coli outbreak affecting six states. The seven cases of E. coli found so far in Washington are likely linked to Simple Truth Organic Power Greens purchased at QFC and Fred Meyer stores in Washington state. Consumers with Simple Truth Organic Power Greens with best-by dates through Dec.r 20, 2021, should discard them to prevent further illnesses.

Infections have also been traced to Oregon, California, Ohio, Mississippi, and Alaska. The local cases were found in King, Snohomish, Whatcom, Pierce, Thurston, Mason and Skagit counties. One individual from each county became ill in late November and early December. Two were hospitalized and one person developed a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome. No deaths have been reported.

State Epidemiologist for Communicable Diseases Dr. Scott Lindquist said the E. coli can cause serious illness. “If you notice symptoms, especially bloody diarrhea, contact your health care provider right away,” he said. “Even if you ate some of the product and did not get sick, throw the rest away.”

People usually become sick from E. coli two to eight days (average of three to four days) after exposure. Those who have eaten the product and feel ill should consult their health care provider.

Retailers and restaurants do not need to take any action at this time, the health department said. Current information does not suggest that products currently on the market are contaminated.

Most people infected with E. coli develop diarrhea and abdominal cramps, and most people recover within a week. However, some illnesses last longer and can be more severe, resulting in hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Antibiotics and antidiarrheal medicines should not be given unless E. coli is ruled out, since they may increase the risk of HUS in people with E. coli infections.

HUS can occur in people of any age, but is most common in young children under 5, older adults and people with weakened immune systems. Symptoms of HUS can include fever, abdominal pain, pale skin tone, fatigue and irritability, small, unexplained bruises or bleeding from the nose and mouth; and decreased urination. People who have these symptoms should seek emergency medical care immediately.

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