The Seattle Times reports that James Apa, spokesman for Public Health in Seattle & King County, says the outbreak of E. coli that sickened patients in a Bellevue nursing home has ended.
Four of the 14 tested positive for the strain of E. coli implicated in the outbreak. One woman died, but did not test positive for E. coli.
So far, health officials haven’t found a source for the E. coli.
Another investigation is looking at eight E. coli cases in different counties, including 4 at a Olive Garden restaurant in King County.
There are between 150 and 300 cases each year of E. coli O157:H7, the common strain in outbreaks. E. coli live in the intestines of cattle, so anything that comes into contact with cow manure can harbor the bacteria. In the past, ground beef has been the most commonly contaminated food.
Outbreaks have also occurred in people who have consumed garden vegetables fertilized with animal manure, unpasteurized apple cider and home-made venison jerky. Some cases recently were linked to contaminated swimming water and petting farms.
Recent cases seem to indicate more problems with pre-washed, packaged lettuce and other vegetables. Investigations reveal the problem is contaminated irrigation water sprayed onto the vegetables.