Five people were sickened and three were hospitalized with Shiga toxin-producing E. coli infections after eating at The Matador restaurant in Ballard last month. Health officials announced the problem after closing the restaurant Friday evening.
King County health officials on Friday suspended the food permit of The Matador restaurant in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood while they investigate an outbreak of potentially life-threatening E. coli food poisoning. The business is temporarily closed.
Five people who ate at the restaurant at 2221 N.W. Market St. in August were infected with the same strain of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, or STEC, officials with Public Health – Seattle & King County said late Friday. Three were hospitalized; one developed a dangerous type of kidney injury called hemolytic-uremic syndrome. All five developed symptoms but have since recovered.
Four of the people ate at the restaurant Aug. 14; one person ate there Aug. 22, officials reported. Health officials said they received the first report of illness Aug. 22 and the most recent case on Tuesday.
Health officials did not identify the strain of E. coli involved in the outbreak but said the infections were confirmed through laboratory testing. An inspection earlier Friday found problems with equipment cleaning and the potential for cross-contamination of food.
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Since 2010, the restaurant has been cited 10 times for food-handling practices linked to the higher risks of food-borne disease, according to public-health records. Six of those violations were for failure to keep food at the proper cold holding temperatures, which keeps bacteria growth in check, the records show.
The owners could not be reached for comment Saturday.
The restaurant was closed at 5 p.m. Friday to allow thorough cleaning and sanitizing, a notice said. Restaurant staff members are cooperating with health officials.
Shiga toxin-producing E. coli infections cause symptoms including bloody diarrhea and stomach cramps with mild fever or no fever at all. Such strains can cause serious illness in people, especially young children.
People who ate at The Matador and developed diarrhea within 10 days and anyone who develops bloody diarrhea should contact a health-care provider.