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Yogurt Causes Severe Outbreak In Multiple Washington Counties

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Matt Lillywhite
Matt Lillywhite
Photo via Unsplash

A correlation has been found to an E. coli epidemic that recently encompassed several Washington state counties. The Washington Department of Health (DOH) announced a "likely link" between a PCC Community Market brand yoghurt, Pure Eire Dairy, and the Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7 (STEC) outbreak.

On Saturday, health authorities released a statement linking an Othello, Washington-based firm to the E. coli outbreak. The dairy corporation is collaborating with the state Department of Agriculture to locate and recall all contaminated items, according to DOH officials. According to health authorities, anyone who has these items should not consume them and should dispose of them.

"Pure Eire Dairy is working with the state Department of Agriculture to identify and recall all affected products. Anyone with PCC Community Market yoghurt at home should not consume it and should dispose of it," officials said in a press release.

Eleven E. coli cases have been confirmed in four counties: eight in King County and one each in Benton, Snohomish, and Walla Walla County. According to health authorities, six children under the age of ten were infected with the bacteria and have been genetically linked. Seven patients were admitted to the hospital, with three of them developing hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a major complication of the E. coli infection.

The Department of Health is collaborating with local authorities to analyse product samples and collect more evidence for the inquiry. More details will be released if it becomes accessible by health authorities.

Diarrhea, stomach cramps, and blood in the stool are also signs of the bacterial infection. The infection is usually not accompanied by a fever.