Two E. Coli cases in Snohomish County; one child hospitalized

Authorities linked the cases to an outbreak in King County, possibly stemming from fresh produce.

EVERETT — Two E. Coli cases have been identified in Snohomish County, including one in a child under 10 who’s been hospitalized, the Snohomish Health District announced Tuesday.

The other infection involves a woman in her 20s.

Public health authorities have linked the two cases to a cluster of E. Coli reports in King County, and they may stem from fresh produce.

“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,” county health officer Dr. Chris Spitters said in a news release.

In King County, officials have reported seven E. Coli cases, all in children under 15. Six have been hospitalized.

“We have identified multiple types of fresh produce, mostly organic, in common among the majority of cases but cannot yet rule out other possibilities,” a King County report says. “We are still uncertain if these cases share the same source of their infection or not.”

E. Coli symptoms may include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea (often bloody), and vomiting, the Snohomish Health District said.

The onset of illness is usually three to four days after exposure and can be as short as one day or as long as 10. If there is a fever, it usually is less than 101 degrees.

Most people recover in less than week. Infections can be mild or severe, even life-threatening.

Young children, people with weakened immune systems, pregnant women and the elderly are more likely to experience serious illness.

To prevent infection, wash your hands, clean cutting boards after use and avoid under-cooked beef, unpasteurized milk, juice or cheese, and raw sprouts.

Joey Thompson: 425-339-3449; jthompson@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @byjoeythompson.

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