Yogurt linked to E. coli outbreak reported in multiple Washington state counties

A link to an E. coli outbreak that spanned across multiple Washington state counties has been identified.

The Washington Department of Health (DOH) reported a "likely link" to the Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7 (STEC) outbreak from a PCC Community Market brand yogurt, Pure Eire Dairy.

Health officials report the Othello, Washington-based company linked to the E. coli outbreak in a news statement on Saturday.

DOH officials said in a media release the dairy company is working with the state Department of Agriculture to identify and recall all affected products. Health officials say anyone with these products are recommended to not eat these products and throw them out.

"Pure Eire Dairy is working with the state Department of Agriculture to identify and recall all affected products. Anyone who has PCC Community Market brand yogurt at home should not eat it and should throw it away," officials said in the statement.

RELATED: 2 Snohomish County cases of toxic E. coli appear to be connected to cases involving children in King County

The outbreak includes 11 confirmed E. coli cases in four counties: eight in King, and one each in Benton, Snohomish, Walla Walla County counties. Six children under the age of 10 were infected with the bacteria and have been genetically linked, health officials say. Seven people in total were hospitalized and three developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a serious complication associated with the E. coli infection.

DOH is partnering with local agencies to test food samples and gather more information in the investigation. Health officials will provide more information as it becomes available. 

Symptoms of the bacterial infection include diarrhea, stomach cramps, blood in the stool. Typically no fever is associated with the infection.  

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Shiga toxin-producing (STEC) E. coli, including O157:H7 can be dangerous. The Seattle- King County Health Department says the infections can come from a number of sources, including:

  • undercooked ground beef and other beef products
  • unpasteurized (raw) milk and cheese
  • contaminated raw fruits, vegetables, sprouts and herbs
  • water contaminated with animal feces
  • ready-to-eat foods through contact with raw beef or raw beef juices in the kitchen

Learn more about food safety on the DOH website.

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