Increase in E. Coli Cases as Investigation Continues

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JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri health officials confirmed 13 cases of E. Coli on Tuesday, up four from last week.

Officials said six of the 13 cases are linked to consumption of unpasteurized milk or raw dairy products from a farm in Howard County. Officials refer to the farm in Howard Country as "Farm A."

The Missouri Department of Health said "Farm A" is currently under investigation. Officials said the owner discontinued all business associated with raw dairy products. Also, the department added a recent test showed all dairy products from "Farm A" tested negative for E. Coli. It could not disclose any further information about the owner, practice or operation of "Farm A."

With Farmer's Markets opening as the weather gets warmer, Missouri Department of Public Health wanted to advise consumers to exercise caution when purchasing raw dairy products. The Boone County Farmer's Market, along with Cole and Cooper, do not host vendors that sell raw dairy products.

"We believe it's an unnecessary health risk to consume raw dairy milk. Now, raw milk is any milk that has not been through the pasteurization process, and that process is what kills harmful bacteria," said Director of Public Health Gena Terlizzi.

State officials have not found a link between the remaining seven cases of E. Coli.

Three cases of E. Coli were reported in Boone County, including a 2-year-old child who was hospitalized. Other E. Coli cases occurred in Camden, Clark, Cooper, Howard, and Jackson counties.