Schedule your free consultation today.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

All fields are required



(833) 330-3663

Seattle E. Coli Lawyer

Escherichia coli, commonly referred to as E. coli, is a bacterium that naturally inhabits the intestines of humans and animals. Most strains are harmless and beneficial for digestion, but some can be dangerous. Pathogenic strains, such as E. coli O157:H7, are known for causing severe foodborne illness, characterized by symptoms like abdominal cramps and diarrhea. Contaminated food or water is a common source of infection, highlighting the importance of hygiene and proper food handling.

Symptoms of E. coli

Common symptoms of E. coli poisoning include intense abdominal cramps that can be quite debilitating. Diarrhea, which often turns bloody after a few days, is a hallmark symptom. Nausea and vomiting accompany these gastrointestinal symptoms, and while a low-grade fever may be present, it is not always the case. The combination of these symptoms can lead to significant discomfort and requires medical attention.

What are some Common Sources of E. coli?

E. coli can spread from a variety of different sources.

Undercooked Ground Beef

One of the primary sources of E. coli is undercooked ground beef. The bacteria can be present on the surface of meat and can spread throughout when the meat is ground. If not cooked to an internal temperature of at least 160°F (70°C), E. coli can survive and cause illness. This is a significant risk in hamburgers, meatloaf, and other dishes made with ground beef.

Raw Milk and Dairy Products

Raw milk and products made from raw milk, such as certain cheeses, are common sources of E. coli. Pasteurization, a process that kills harmful bacteria by heating the milk, is not applied to raw milk, leaving it vulnerable to contamination. Consumers who drink raw milk or eat products made from it are at higher risk for E. coli infection.

Fresh Produce

Vegetables, particularly leafy greens like lettuce and spinach, can be contaminated with E. coli through contact with contaminated water, soil, or during handling and processing. This contamination can occur at various points in the supply chain, from the farm to the table. Washing vegetables thoroughly can help reduce the risk, but it may not eliminate it entirely.

Unpasteurized Juices

Unpasteurized juices and ciders can also be sources of E. coli. The bacteria can be present on the surface of fruits and vegetables and can get into the juice during the pressing process. Pasteurization kills the bacteria, but unpasteurized products pose a higher risk of infection.

Contaminated Water

E. coli can be present in recreational water (such as lakes, rivers, and swimming pools) and in drinking water contaminated with fecal matter. This contamination can result from sewage overflows, agricultural runoff, or inadequate water treatment. Swimming in or drinking contaminated water can lead to E. coli infection.

Improperly Handled Food

Cross-contamination during food preparation is a common way E. coli spreads. For example, bacteria from raw meat can transfer to other foods if proper food handling practices, such as using separate cutting boards and utensils, are not followed. Thorough cleaning and proper food handling are essential to prevent cross-contamination.

Preventing E. coli Infections

To prevent the spread of E. coli, people should:

  • Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water.
  • Cook meat to a safe internal temperature.
  • Avoid cross-contamination by using separate cutting boards.
  • Rinse fruits and vegetables under running water.
  • Avoid consuming raw or unpasteurized milk and dairy products.
  • Drink water from safe, treated sources.
  • Clean and sanitize kitchen surfaces regularly.
  • Store food at appropriate temperatures.
  • Avoid preparing food if you are sick.
  • Practice good hygiene when handling pets and animals.

E. coli Cases in Seattle

Between 2015 and 2017, King County was among the top ten counties in Washington with the highest E. coli incidence rates. However, in 2018 and 2019, it moved up into the top five.

Washington state had peaks in E. coli illnesses in 2015 and 2019. The 2015 increase can be attributed to a school trip to a dairy education event at a barn; over 60 illnesses were identified, 11 patients were hospitalized, and 6 developed hemolytic uremic syndrome.

In 2019, a multistate outbreak linked to romaine lettuce impacted 27 states, including Washington.

Since the romaine lettuce outbreak, Washington has been affected by outbreaks linked to:

Get In Touch

E. coli issues? Call The Lange Law Firm at (833) 330-3663 or message us online today for a free consultation. Our experienced attorneys will provide you with the legal expertise and support you need to navigate your case and achieve a favorable outcome.