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

17 Sick with Shigella After Eating at Seattle Restaurant

Posted in Our Blog,Outbreaks & Recalls,Shigella on January 31, 2023

Local media reports the Public Health Seattle-King County is investigating an outbreak of a gastrointestinal illness that was contracted at an International District neighborhood restaurant. Here is everything we know about this Shigella Seattle outbreak:

About the Shigella Seattle Outbreak

According to King County,

Public Health is investigating an outbreak of Shigellosis associated with Tamarind Tree Restaurant in Seattle. Symptoms reported include diarrhea, cramps, nausea, fever, chills, and vomiting.

As of January 27, 2023, 17 people from 7 separate meal parties reported becoming ill after eating food from the Tamarind Tree Restaurant. These 17 people ate at this restaurant on January 15, 16, and 17, 2023. We have not identified any ill employees.Five of the seventeen people who became ill tested positive for Shigella. Three of those five have confirmatory testing indicating Shigella sonnei, a species of Shigella. Symptoms among those who did not get tested are suggestive of a Shigella infection.

Environmental Health Investigators visited the restaurant on January 24, 2023. They observed improper food handling practices, including blocked access to handwashing facilities, improper storage of wiping cloths, risk of cross contamination, and lack of maintenance, cleaning, and sanitizing of food equipment and physical facilities.


Environmental Health investigators did a routine inspection on January 18, 2023. They observed several risk factors that could contribute to foodborne outbreaks, including bare hand contact with ready-to-eat foods.

Investigators closed the restaurant during their visit on January 24, 2023. The restaurant was required to complete a thorough cleaning and disinfection.

Investigators reviewed with restaurant management the requirement that ill staff are not allowed to work until they are symptom-free for at least 48 hours. They also provided education about preventing the spread of gastrointestinal illness — including proper handwashing and preventing bare hand contact with ready-to-eat foods.

The Media Says:

According to the health department, 17 people from three separate groups reported getting gastrointestinal illnesses after eating food at the Tamarind Tree Restaurant between Jan. 15 and Jan. 16.

The health department initially received reports of 10 people sickened, but that number has since increased to 17.

Five of the 17 people who became ill tested positive for Shigella. Three of those five have confirmatory testing indicating Shigella sonnei, a species of Shigella.

Public Health Environmental Health investigators visited the restaurant on Jan. 24 and they observed, “improper food handling practices, including blocked access to hand-washing facilities, improper storage of wiping cloths, risk of cross-contamination, and lack of maintenance, cleaning, and sanitizing of food equipment and physical facilities.”

Investigators closed the restaurant during their visit on Jan. 24, and the restaurant is required to complete a thorough cleaning and disinfection.

Anyone who has a gastrointestinal illness should not work in or attend childcare or preschool, or work in food handling or healthcare while having vomiting or diarrhea, the health department said.

What is Shigella?

Shigella is a bacteria. Shigella infections are responsible for 300,000 illnesses and 600 deaths per year in the United States. The hospitalization rate associated with Shigella is also very high with an estimated 62,000 hospitalizations per year.

How do I know if I have Shigella?

The best way to find out if you have Shigella is to see your physician and obtain a stool test.  Symptoms of a Shigella infection include:

  • watery diarrhea
  • sometimes bloody diarrhea
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • abdominal cramping
  • mucus in stool
  • sometimes a fever
  • tenesmus (a painful feeling f needing to pass stool even when the bowels are empty)

Some individuals, when infected with Shigella bacteria, may not show any signs or symptoms of the infection. The bacteria, however, will continue to live in their intestinal tract until the body’s immune system has completely destroyed it.

Those who are infected and show symptoms will do so within one to three days after ingesting infected food or drink. Usually, healthy adults will recover within five days to a week. But those who are in the high risk group may have longer, more severe infections.

If you are exhibiting any of the symptoms mentioned above, medical attention is recommended. Shigella infections may have long-term complications. Early medical attention may help reduce the likelihood of complication.

Are there complications to Shigella infections?

Yes. Children less than 2 years old who have suffered from an infection do have chances of developing a severe infection accompanied by a fever that might turn into a seizure.

  • Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS): This complication predominantly affects children even though adults can also be its victims. This syndrome is associated with hemolytic anemia (destruction of RBC’s), a low platelet count and acute kidney failure. HUS is a severe condition and those affected need to get medical care immediately.
  • Reactive Arthritis: Reactive arthritis is a long term effect of Shigella that can lead to swollen joints and swelling due to an infection in some other part of the body.
  • Wrongful Death: Shigella is associated with a high fatality rate especially in the developing countries. With the complications that can arise with Shigella, there is a high chance of death associated with the infection.

Is Shigella easy to catch?

Shigella is one of the most communicable type of bacterial diarrhea that exists. No person is immune to Shigellosis. Considering the nastiness of the virus, there is an ongoing research for development of Shigella vaccine. Since children are a major victim of this virus, most of the cases of Shigella will automatically go down once the vaccine is injected.

Shigella can spread by a relatively tiny dose of infection (less than 100 bacteria are required to catch the disease). That is a very tiny amount of bacteria, which is why it is so easy for Shigella to transfer from person to person.

Another reason why Shigella is so dangerous because the bacteria thrives easily in the intestine of humans, which makes it so easy to transfer both from person to person and contamination of food, water, etc.

How do you get Shigella bacteria?

Shigella is spread through fecal-oral route. It is highly contagious, which means just a small amount of germs are enough to make someone sick. People shed Shigella in their stool when they are infected and up to a week or two after their symptoms are gone. You can get Shigella bacteria by:

  • Eating food or drinking water that has been contaminated with the germs. Eating food that has been prepared by someone who has Shigella. 20% of all Shigellosis infections are caused by food. In fact, in a research done by FoodNet, Shigella was in the top 3 pathogens that were responsible for foodborne illnesses along with Salmonella and Campylobacter.
  • Getting Shigella germs on your hands by the contaminated feces and then getting those hands near your mouth and using them for eating or cooking can also risk infection.
    • People working at daycare have higher chances of getting the germs through this kind of transmission because they have to change the diapers of the babies and kids.
    • Small children and babies can also get germs on hands through their own poop sometimes. Children take their hands in their mouth a lot. They also touch a lot of toys and infect it. Other children can get hold of germs by touching or taking in mouth the infected toy. Since a very small amount of dose is required for transmission, a small amount of feces and a touch is enough for contamination.
  • Swallowing or coming in contact with recreational water, like pools that have been contaminated with infected stools.

What foods commonly are part of Shigella outbreaks?

Foods that are most commonly associated with this pathogen are salads and sandwiches that are handled a great deal in their preparation, and raw vegetables contaminated in the field.

Additionally, Shigella can proliferate on unclean utensils, plates, and cups. Shigella is also known to be found in developing countries without proper drinking water treatment facilities.

How is Shigella treated?

The treatment of Shigella can depend on how strongly the symptoms have developed. If the symptoms are mild, then the doctor generally do not prescribe any medicines and let immunity do its work. The patient is advised to rest and take plenty of fluids. In other cases antibiotics such as cefixime, ampicillin or trimethoprim are prescribed. Due to growing antibiotic resistance, the choices of treatment are limiting over time. It is best that we take good care of our hygiene and wish for Shigella vaccine to develop in order to avert the antibiotic resistance crisis.

How The Lange Law Firm Can Help

Our mission is to help families who have been harmed by contaminated food or water.  When corporations cause Shigella food poisoning outbreaks or Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks, we use the law to hold them accountable.  The Lange Law Firm is the only law firm in the nation solely focused on representing families in food poisoning lawsuits and Legionnaires disease lawsuits.

If you got sick with Shigella in this Seattle Shigella Outbreak and are interested in making a legal claim for compensation, we can help.  Our Shigella Lawyer can help you pursue compensation for you or your child’s Shigella infection.  Call us for a free no obligation legal consultation at (833) 330-3663 or send us an e-mail here.