E. coli outbreak in 4 counties: New cases found in Benton, Walla Walla

Washington State Department health officials reported Wednesday that four cases of an E. Coli outbreak in King and Snohomish counties are now connected with a case in Benton County and another in Walla Walla County.

>> State health officials link yogurt product to ongoing E. coli outbreak

On Tuesday, Snohomish County health workers said an E. coli outbreak in King County has now spread to the North Sound.

Public Health — Seattle & King County is investigating a cluster of toxic E. coli cases that left seven children infected during a two-week period. Six of them had to be hospitalized.

The children, all under 14, were infected with Shiga toxin-producing E. coli., also known as STEC. The cases were reported between April 22 and May 1. Three of the children are under 5 years old.

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Public Health told KIRO 7 that the cases were all over King County, but there were “a few more on the Eastside.”

Additionally, on May 11, Snohomish County reported two more cases involving a woman in her 20s and a child under 10 from separate households. The child has been hospitalized. There is no further information available due to patient privacy.

All the children developed symptoms consistent with STEC, including diarrhea, abdominal cramping, nausea and vomiting. One developed a serious kidney complication, and a second child is suspected to also have that complication.

Six of the cases so far completed preliminary PCR (polymerase chain reaction) testing showing the kids were infected with the bacterial strain E. coli O157:H7.

“This outbreak is a reminder of the importance of food safety from farm to fork, especially fresh produce. We can all help reduce E. coli O157:H7 infections by washing our hands properly, scrubbing produce before eating, cooking foods thoroughly and choosing pasteurized milk products,” said Acting State Health Officer Scott Lindquist. “E. coli O157:H7 infections can cause serious complications, so make sure to contact your health care provider right away if you notice symptoms, especially bloody diarrhea.”

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