Seattle’s King County public health is investigating an outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) associated with I Love Sushi and Sodexo’s Café Mario at Nintendo of America campus in Redmond. Café Mario is operated by Sodexo and is not open to the public. At this time, the source of the illnesses has not been identified.
Since July 2, 2018, we have learned that four people (two King and two Snohomish County residents) have tested positive for STEC. All four consumed food from Café Mario in King County and work at the Nintendo of America campus in Redmond. Symptoms included abdominal cramps and bloody diarrhea. Illness onsets occurred during June 25–28, 2018. The four ill people consumed food from Café Mario on multiple days during June 18–22, 2018; one ill person also ate at I Love Sushi on June 19 and June 26, 2018, which is a food establishment that operates out of Café Mario once a week.\
On July 3, 2018, Public Health – Seattle & King County Environmental Health investigators visited Café Mario. Inspections were completed for both Café Mario and I Love Sushi.
At Café Mario, potential risk factors were identified and corrective actions discussed with Café Mario’s management, including inadequate hand washing practices and improper cold holding temperatures of food. At I Love Sushi, potential risk factors were also identified and discussed, including improper temperature storage of foods. Both restaurants were not open on July 4 due to it being a holiday.
On July 5, 2018, investigators closed Café Mario and the onsite I Love Sushi food services. Both restaurants will remain closed until approved to reopen by Public Health. Both food establishments will be required to complete a thorough cleaning and disinfection before reopening. Remaining food products are being held and environmental swabs were collected for laboratory testing. We are currently investigating whether any employees of these restaurants had a recent diarrheal illness. Investigators also reviewed with Café Mario’s management the Washington State Retail Food Code requirement that staff are not allowed to work while having vomiting or diarrhea.