E. coli suspected in 14 cases in county

EVERETT — The Snohomish Health District now is investigating 14 cases of suspected E. coli in Snohomish County.

There is no identified common source, according to the health district.

So far 14 county residents have been sick with E. coli symptoms since Oct. 7. Only one person has been hospitalized, and that person is now recovering at home.

Dr. Gary Goldbaum, director of the Snohomish Health District, alerted county physicians to be watchful of patients who exhibited symptoms of E. coli, requesting that health care providers take specimens for testing.

“Public health in Snohomish County is working to solve this disease puzzle,” Goldbaum said. “No single source is jumping out at us from the preliminary investigation. However, we learn more with each interview and each lab test.”

According to the Snohomish Health District, there are 16 to 20 E. coli cases per year in Snohomish County.

The following are steps to reduce the risk of E. coli:

Wash hands for 20 seconds with soap and warm water after using the bathroom or changing diapers. Make sure children also wash their hands well.

Wash hands well before and after preparing food, especially after handling raw meat.

Wash hands thoroughly after handling animals or pets and their waste.

Cook all meat, especially ground beef, thoroughly. Cook ground beef to 155 degrees. Make certain that cooked meat is gray or brown — not pink.

Clean all utensils and surfaces after contact with raw meat.

Use only pasteurized milk and milk products.

Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating.

Keep infected children away from other children and the elderly.

Do not drink untreated water.

E. coli outbreaks are usually assorted with undercooked hamburger, raw milk, lake swimming, petting zoos and day care centers.

Reporter Justin Arnold: 425-339-3432 or jarnold@heraldnet.com.

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