Monday, June 21, 2021
June 21, 2021

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King County reports 7 children infected with toxic E. coli


SEATTLE — Seattle-King County officials have launched an investigation after seven children under the age of 14 became sick from E. coli over a two-week period last month.

Six of the children were hospitalized, including one who developed a potentially lethal type of kidney complication, KOMO-TV reported. That child is now recovering after receiving treatment and another child is now believed to have the same complication.

Health officials said the children became sick between April 17 and April 29 and had symptoms consistent with Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, including bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping, nausea and vomiting.

Public Health Seattle-King County is conducting interviews with the children and their families to identify potential common exposures. Investigators have not yet identified any foods or other sources in common. It remains unclear if the cases involve the same source of infection.

Investigators are working with the state Department of Health to conduct further tests that will confirm the strain and help identify possible related cases in other counties.

Officials said infections can be caused by eating undercooked beef, unpasteurized diary products, contaminated water or raw fruits, vegetables and herbs. Infections can last several days and can be spread even after symptoms go away.

Parents are urged to contact their health care providers if children develop decreased urine, painful or bloody diarrhea, or diarrhea that lasts more than three days or is accompanied by fevers.