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E. coli outbreak tracked to Bend restaurant

BEND, Ore. – Nearly 20 people were reporting symptoms from an apparent E. coli outbreak at a Bend restaurant.

Health officials said two cases of the E. coli infection were confirmed by the Deschutes County Public Health Department and a total of 18 people had developed diarrhea that may also be linked to the outbreak.

Investigators tracked the E. coli to common exposure at McGrath's Fish House.

“The restaurant is fully cooperative and working with our agencies to help identify the source and address any issues. At this point in time no specific food item stands out as a likely source,” said Dan Peddycord, Deschutes County Health Administrator. “We ask that persons who ate at McGraths in Bend between October 12th and October 18th and afterwards who developed diarrhea to call the Deschutes County Health Department at 322-7451,"

Symptoms include severe diarrhea, bloody diarrhea, or inability to keep fluids down should seek medical attention, Peddycord said.

People who think they may have been infected were cautioned not to take over-the-counter anti-diarrheal agents, such as loperamide or antibiotics, because these medicines may increase the risk of complications.

"E. coli can be spread easily to other family members if infected persons don't wash their hands after using the toilet," Peddycord added. "Washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after using the bathroom is the key to stopping transmission."

E. coli produces a powerful toxin and can cause severe illness but it usually resolves in five to 10 days without specific treatment. The infections may be spread from a variety of food products, most commonly undercooked ground beef, unpasteurized milk and apple cider, other foods cross-contaminated with raw beef, and untreated water. E. coli can also be spread person-to-person, primarily within households.

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