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E. coli outbreak in Washington linked to yogurt, state health officials say

This E. coli outbreak now includes eleven confirmed cases, including six children under the age of ten.

During the ongoing investigation into an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) announced they identified a likely link to PCC Community Market brand yogurt produced by Pure Eire Dairy.

In a press release from the DOH, it said Pure Eire Dairy is working with the state Department of Agriculture to identify and recall all products that may have been affected.

The DOH advised anyone who has the Pure Eire Dairy brand yogurt to throw it away and not eat it.

The King County Health Department initially started the investigation. At first, the department believed the E. coli cases were linked to fresh produce. The investigation was turned over to the state who was able to collect more information and discover a link to the yogurt. 

According to the DOH, this E. coli outbreak now includes eleven confirmed cases, including six children under the age of ten, infected with bacteria that have been genetically linked. The earliest detected case so far is one person who had symptoms on March 9. 

All cases were linked to the same E. coli strain known as E. coli O157:H7, which produces a "Shiga" toxin that could cause serious illness.

Seven people have been hospitalized and three people have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a serious complication of E. coli infection.

The DOH and partner agencies will continue to test food samples. This is still an ongoing investigation.

Symptoms of an E. coli infection include diarrhea, notably bloody diarrhea, stomach cramps and no fever, according to DOH.

E. coli infection can be avoided by washing hands thoroughly after using the toilet or changing a baby diaper. Health officials also recommended cooking meat fully, separating raw meat from away from ready-to-eat foods, and washing raw produce thoroughly before eating.