Public Health is investigating an outbreak of gastrointestinal illness with diarrhea, vomiting, body aches, headaches, and fevers associated with a takeout meal from Saigon Vietnam Deli on July 25, 2020. A specific food or drink item that might have caused the illnesses has not been identified. Saigon Vietnam Deli is located  at1200 S Jackson Street in Seattle.

Pubic Health serves the Seattle-King County area of Washington State.

Since Aug. 3, 2020, Public Health learned about 8 people with a gastrointestinal illness who reported eating takeout food together from Saigon Vietnam Deli on July 25, 2020. Other food was also ordered for takeout from another food establishment, but since only half of the ill people ate the food from the second restaurant, it is unlikely the source of illnesses.

Public Health hasn’t identified any ill employees.

Initial outreach to the restaurant was conducted over the telephone in an effort to follow COVID Safe Start guidelines to minimize contact with others. Environmental Health investigators held a teleconference with restaurant management on August 5, 2020. 

Investigators reviewed food handling practices, illness policies, employee schedules, employee health, food sources, and facility cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfection procedures with the restaurant management to identify possible risk factors for the spread of a gastrointestinal illness.

An Environmental Health investigator then visited the restaurant on Aug.6, 2020, to review food handling practices at the establishment and conduct an onsite inspection. The investigator’s inspection identified potential risk factors, including inadequate hand washing, improper cleaning and sanitizing of food contact surfaces, the inadequate cold holding of foods, and food handling practices that could lead to cross-contamination of bacteria; corrective actions were discussed with restaurant management.

Public Health does not have laboratory results for the people who got sick. It said symptoms among those who got sick are suggestive of bacterial illness.

Many different disease-causing germs can contaminate foods, so there are many different foodborne infections, but most are caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites. Common bacterial causes of foodborne illness include Salmonella, Campylobacter, and Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC).

Anyone who has a gastrointestinal illness should not work in food handling, patient care, or childcare while having vomiting or diarrhea.

To prevent bacterial infections:

  • Wash hands with soap and water after going to the bathroom, changing diapers, touching animals, and before eating or preparing food.
  • Wash cutting boards and counters used for meat or poultry preparation immediately after use to avoid cross-contaminating other foods.
  • Cook all meats thoroughly.
  • Use a food thermometer to make sure that meats have reached a safe internal temperature.
  • Bacteria can multiply rapidly if left at room temperature or in the “Danger Zone” between 40°F and 140°F.
    • Never leave perishable food out for more than 2 hours (or 1 hour if it’s hotter than 90°F outside).
    • Keep your refrigerator at 40°F or below and know when to throw food out.
  • Avoid eating high-risk foods, especially undercooked ground beef and other beef products, unpasteurized (raw) milk or juice or cheese, and raw sprouts. and thoroughly wash fresh produce before eating.

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