Source of E. coli still unknown

01:02 PM PDT on Monday, October 20, 2008



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Doctors in Snohomish County are investigating a flare-up of multiple cases of e-coli.

E-coli is now suspected of making 14 people sick. Of those 14, only one required hospitalization, but is now at home recovering.

Cases first appeared last week and the push is on now to figure how those people got sick.

At the Everett Clinic Monday morning, we saw the test that alerted doctors to the possibility of e-coli.

Itís what's called a presumptive test, and it's very accurate at predicting whether a person is sick with the e-coli bacterium.

Doctors at the Everett Clinic diagnosed four of the 14 patients.

As you may know, e-coli is often spread through contaminated food and in serious cases can lead to kidney failure and death.

We're told nurses are interviewing all 14 patients, trying to determine if there is some thing linking them.

But so far they have found none

The one thing that does point to this being an "e-coli cluster" is the short length of time in which these people got sick.

While e-coli isn't a rare sickness, it is rare to see this many cases clustered together.

The Snohomish County Health District says this is a good time to remind people to thoroughly wash their hands throughout the day, to make sure meats are thoroughly cooked and not to cross contaminate foods you may be preparing with raw meat.

Public health officials are meeting this afternoon to discuss the latest on the investigation.



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