SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. - Two cases of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) have been identified in Snohomish County residents.
These cases appear to be connected to a cluster of STEC cases among seven children in King County, according to health officials.
The cases in Snohomish County involve a woman in her 20s and a child under the age of 10, both from separate households. The child has been hospitalized, but no further information was made available.
"The exact source of E. coli contamination can be difficult to pinpoint, but public health interviews lead us to believe the cases may be linked to eating fresh produce," said Dr. Chris Spitters, Health Officer for the Snohomish Health District. "While we continue working with our partners on this investigation, it’s an important reminder to always wash produce items well before eating them, to avoid unpasteurized dairy products, and to fully cook beef and other animal meats to the proper temperature."
Last week, public health officials in King County are investigating after seven children became seriously ill from a toxin-producing E. coli. Of those seven cases, six children required hospitalization.
According to King County Public Health, Shiga toxin-producing (STEC) E. coli infections can come from a number of sources, including:
- undercooked ground beef and other beef products
- unpasteurized (raw) milk
- contaminated raw fruits, vegetables, sprouts and herbs
- water contaminated with animal feces
- direct contact with farm animals or their environment.
- ready-to-eat foods through contact with raw beef or raw beef juices in the kitchen
So far, an investigation has not identified any foods or restaurants that could be a common source among all the cases.
All seven children had symptoms consistent with STEC. The children started showing symptoms between April 17 to April 29, and cases were reported from April 22 to May 1.
One of the six children hospitalized developed a type of kidney complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) and is recovering. A second child is suspected to have HUS.
All of the children in King County that were sickened are under the age of 14.
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