Evergreen E. coli Outbreak and Litigation - Washington (2019)

E. coli lawyers at Marler Clark represented two of the victims in this outbreak, achieving settlements covering medical expenses, wage loss, and pain and suffering. At this time, these cases have been successfully settled.

We identified additional cases linked to this outbreak. All of these cases occurred between November 8-15, 2019.

  • Cases: 16
  • Hospitalizations: 3
  • Deaths: 0
  • Status: Investigation is complete
  • Locations: Evergreens restaurants:

Pioneer Square (106 1st Ave S, Seattle)

University District (4609 Village Ter NE, Seattle)

Downtown (823 3rd Ave, Seattle)

Chinatown-International District (504 5th Ave S, Seattle)

Sammamish Highlands (600 228th Ave NE, Sammamish)

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (17801 International Blvd, Seattle)

2nd and Pike St. (1430 2nd Ave, Seattle)

Eleven of the sixteen people reporting illness tested positive for E.coli O157.H7. All 11 isolates shared a closely related E.coli genetic fingerprint, suggesting that they have a common source of infection. The remaining five ill people who were sick but not tested had symptoms consistent with E.coli infection. Three of the ill people were hospitalized. Everyone who reported illness has recovered at this time.

Public Health investigators visited all seven of the Evergreens locations (University District, Pioneer Square, International District, Downtown -3rd and Marion, Sammamish Highlands, Seattle-Tacoma Airport, Seattle - 2nd and Pike) where the ill people reported eating. During these inspections, investigators did not observe environmental or behavioral risk factors associated with the spread or proliferation of E. coli, such as lack of handwashing or improper time and temperature control of foods.

This outbreak comes in the context of a national E. coli outbreak associated with romaine lettuce from the Salinas, California growing region, which was announced by the CDC on November 22, 2019. Results of genetic testing on isolates from four of the seven cases doesn’t suggest a link to this national outbreak.

Public Health collected samples of various produce for testing from two of the Evergreens locations where the people who became ill ate; results for E.coli were negative. Public Health also worked with the Washington State Department of Agriculture and United States Department of Agriculture on tracing back the distributors and sources for ingredients consumed by the ills during their meals. Trace back is used to identify other points of contamination up the supply chain.

As per our protocol, public health investigators revisited the seven Evergreens restaurant locations where ill cases reported eating to confirm that these actions were taken. During their visit, investigators reviewed the requirement that restaurant employees are not allowed to work while having vomiting or diarrhea.