On August 2, 2023, the King County Health Department announced a Salmonella outbreak at the Washington Care Center, located at 2821 S. Walden St., Seattle, WA. The Public Health officials immediately began an investigation of the long-term care facility to help determine the cause of the salmonellosis outbreak. Not typically open to the public, the investigators suspected that the outbreak was likely due to contaminated food served to the residents.
As of now, there are 29 confirmed cases, with six of those sickened requiring hospitalization. Illnesses began on July 1, 2023 and continued through July 5, 2023. The Public Health Department was able to identify 29 individuals who resided at Washington Care Center and developed one of more symptoms of salmonellosis. Those symptoms included diarrhea, abdominal cramping, nausea, and vomiting. Based on the timing of the illnesses, the King County Health Department reported that the contaminated meals were likely served on June 29 and June 30, 2023. No ill food service workers were identified as those becoming ill.
On July 3, 2023, the outbreak was reported to the health department by the Washington Care Center. Public Health officials provided the facility staff with educational information including the need for hand washing, effective cleaning and sanitation. They urged the center to residents and staff isolate until symptom free for 24 hours.
On July 11, 2023, local and state health department officials visited the facility and conducted interviews with the residents to help identify potential common exposures. They also inspected the common kitchen to identify risk factors for Salmonella spreading which included cross-contamination, poor handwashing, and improper glove use.
Eight of the 29 people sickened had testing that confirmed infections with Salmonella. And of those tested, seven of the eight confirmed cases showed the same strain of Salmonella. The Washington State Public Health Laboratory used genetic fingerprinting tests (whole genome sequencing, or WGS), which were an exact match in all seven of those tested. The investigation has been identified as complete at this time.
What you need to know about Salmonella
Salmonella can be found in a variety of foods, including beef, chicken, and pork. For this reason, it
is important to follow proper hygiene for hands and utensils and to cook foods to the proper temperature. Always follow these four food safety steps to help prevent getting sick from Salmonella:
- Clean: Wash your hands, utensils, and surfaces often.
- Separate: Keep food that won’t be cooked separate from raw meat and poultry.
- Cook: Use a food thermometer to make sure you have cooked your food to a temperature high enough to kill germs. For ground beef, it should have a minimum internal temperature of 160°F.
- Chill: Refrigerate perishable food (food that goes bad) within 2 hours, or within 1 hour if food is exposed to temperatures above 90°F, like a hot car or a picnic. Thaw food in the refrigerator, not on the counter.
Symptoms of illness caused by Salmonella most commonly include diarrhea (that can be bloody), fever, and stomach cramps. Some people may also have nausea, vomiting, or a headache. If these symptoms are experienced six to 72 hours after eating potentially contaminated beef, people should contact a health care provider and let them know they have recently eaten beef. The symptoms can last for four to seven days.
Certain categories of people are more at risk for serious outcomes from Salmonella – these include children under the age of 5, adults over 65, those who have weakened immune systems, and those with certain types of heart or joint conditions.
Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Salmonella outbreaks. The Salmonella lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Salmonella and other foodborne illness outbreaks and have recovered over $850 million for clients. Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation. Our Salmonella lawyers have litigated Salmonella cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of foods, such as cantaloupe, tomatoes, ground turkey, salami, sprouts, cereal, peanut butter, and food served in restaurants. The law firm has brought Salmonella lawsuits against such companies as Cargill, ConAgra, Peanut Corporation of America, Sheetz, Taco Bell, Subway and Wal-Mart.
If you or a family member became ill with a Salmonella infection, including Reactive Arthritis or Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark Salmonella attorneys for a free case evaluation.