E. coli contamination linked to Eastern Washington dairy

The state has linked the Pure Eire Dairy farm in Othello to contaminated yogurt.

It was being sold at PCC stores under the community market’s brand name.

It has been pulled from store shelves, but nearly a dozen children across our state have already gotten sick.

The children were treated at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

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A lawyer is now representing at least three of them, including a 7-year-old girl he says suffered a severe kidney disease known as Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome, or HUS.

The food safety attorney described the terrible illness that befell the girl after she ate this yogurt.

“She developed a fairly severe case of HUS,” said Bill Marker, “was in ICU for a while, dialysis, transfusions.”

Indeed, it was the stricken girl’s mother who helped narrow the likely source of the contamination.

“And pretty rapidly after that,” said Marler, “once she confirmed what her kid was eating, within a few hours PCC first announced and the dairy announced that they were doing a recall.”

It wasn’t until Saturday morning that the state Department of Health also made its announcement.

By then, the owners of Pure Eire dairy announced on their website they are pulling all of their yogurt products, including those not sold at PCC, “out of an abundance of caution.”

But Marler says the harm is already done.

“You can’t sell pasteurized yogurt that has E.coli in it,” Marler said. “It’s a defective product.”

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In all, 11 children have been hospitalized, six of them under the age of 10, one of them just a year old. Many have suffered severe kidney damage.

Marler says he is preparing a lawsuit against the dairy. He says the children will likely feel the effects of the damage to their kidneys for the rest of their lives.

“If enough of these nephrons, these filtering units are damaged,” said Marler, “in a sense your kidneys can wear out before their due date.”

The 7-year-old was released from Seattle Children’s Hospital on Friday. The status of the other children is unknown.

Pure Eire says it will provide refunds for any of its yogurt. Anyone who bought the yogurt should return it to the store.

Get more information about the outbreak and what symptoms to look out for here.