Four Seattle area residents have tested positive for Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) after consuming food at I Love Sushi and Sodexo’s Café Mario, Seattle-King County Public Health reports.

The two implicated restaurants are located at the Nintendo of America campus in Redmond, WA. All four people – two King County and two Snohomish County residents – ate food from Café Mario on multiple days in June, and all of the ill people work at the Nintendo of America campus. Victims suffered abdominal cramps and bloody diarrhea. One ill person also ate at I Love Sushi on multiple days in June, which is a food establishment that operates out of Café Mario once a week.

Health investigators visited Café Mario, completing inspections for both Café Mario and I Love Sushi. Investigators identified potential risk factors, such as handwashing facilities violations and a cold holding temperature violation. At I Love Sushi, potential risk factors were also identified and discussed, including improper temperature storage of foods. Both restaurants were required to complete a thorough cleaning and disinfection.

During the immediate prior inspections, the Redmond Café Mario restaurant score was Excellent; and I Love Sushi earned “Good” ratings.

Remaining food products from the restaurants are being held and environmental swabs were collected for laboratory testing.

“We are currently investigating whether any employees of these restaurants had a recent diarrheal illness. Investigators also reviewed with Café Mario’s management the Washington State Retail Food Code requirement that staff are not allowed to work while having vomiting or diarrhea,” investigators said.

The investigation is ongoing and investigators said they will provide more information as it becomes available; “Anyone who ate at Café Mario and I Love Sushi at Nintendo of America during June 11, 2018 to July 5, 2018, and developed diarrhea (especially bloody diarrhea) within 10 days, should consult with their healthcare provider promptly to determine if testing is necessary.”

Seattle-King County Public Health also provides this “general advice” for reducing the risk of contracting STEC:

  • Avoid eating high-risk foods, especially undercooked ground beef and other beef products, unpasteurized (raw) milk or juice or cheese, and raw sprouts.
  • Use a food thermometer to make sure that ground beef has reached a safe internal temperature of 160° F.
  • Wash hands before preparing food, after diapering infants, and after contact with cows, sheep, or goats, their food or treats, or their living environment.
  • Thoroughly wash fresh produce before eating.

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