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I Love Sushi and Café Mario E. coli Outbreak

Public Health- Seattle & King County investigated an outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) O26 associated with I Love Sushi and Café Mario at Nintendo of America campus in Redmond. Café Mario is operated by Sodexo and is not open to the public. I Love Sushi is a food establishment that operates out of Café Mario once a week. At this time, the source of the illnesses has not been identified.

Since July 2, 2018, investigators learned of at least 16 people who have developed symptoms consistent with a STEC illness, including diarrhea (bloody or non-bloody) and abdominal cramps. All of the ill people work at the Nintendo of America campus in Redmond. Illness onsets occurred during June 11-July 5th, 2018. The 16 ill people all consumed food from Café Mario on multiple days before becoming ill, and only four of the ill people also ate at I Love Sushi before becoming ill.

On July 3, 2018, Public Health- Seattle & King County Environmental Health investigators visited Café Mario. Inspections were completed for both Café Mario and I Love Sushi. At Café Mario, potential risk factors were identified, including inadequate hand washing practices and improper cold holding temperatures of food; corrective actions discussed with Café Mario’s management. At I Love Sushi, potential risk factors were also identified and discussed, including improper temperature storage of foods. Both restaurants were not open on the July 4 holiday.

On July 5, 2018, investigators closed Café Mario and the onsite I Love Sushi food services. Investigators revisited both food establishments on July 11, 2018, and both were allowed to reopen the same day. Café Mario and I Love Sushi both completed a thorough cleaning and disinfection of their facilities before reopening, and any remaining processed ready-to-eat food products were discarded.

Public Health investigators did not identify any employees of either restaurant who had a recent diarrheal illness. Investigators also reviewed with management of both food establishments the Washington State Retail Food Code requirement that staff are not allowed to work while having vomiting or diarrhea.

Of the 16 people who got sick, 4 tested positive for STEC by a healthcare provider. Further testing at the Washington State Public Health Laboratory is pending, but so far three of those tested are positive for STEC O26. Genetic fingerprint results are still pending.

Environmental swabs were collected from both food establishments for laboratory testing and all came back negative for STEC.[1]

[1]https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/health/communicable-diseases/disease-control/outbreak/I-Love-Sushi-Cafe-Mario.aspx

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