Possible case of E. coli in Mercer Island child; not yet linked to water

MERCER ISLAND -- Public health officials say they received a report a Mercer Island child that may have E. coli.

The Washington State Public Health Laboratory will confirm the result next week.

According to health officials, the child is not hospitalized. They said the child had multiple possible exposures including water from the Mercer Island system and food that could be contaminated with the bacteria.

“We don’t know whether the infection in this child was caused by the water on Mercer Island,” said Dr. Meagan Kay, Medical Epidemiologist for Public Health – Seattle & King County. “E.coli comes from a variety of sources including ground beef, unpasteurized milk and cheese, and produce. We may never be able to definitively link this case to a particular source.”

E. coli O157 is not uncommon in King County, officials said. There are an average of 20 - 30 cases per year in the county and the source is typically never identified.

"Public Health will continue to monitor for gastrointestinal illness in the community  and reminds health providers to promptly report cases or clusters of suspected E. coli infection as well as other notifiable enteric infections," officials wrote in a news release. "At this time, we do not have evidence of an increase in gastrointestinal illnesses among Mercer Island residents."

"This case is a good reminder to be alert for symptoms of E. coli O157:H7 infection, which include diarrhea, which is often bloody, and severe abdominal cramps.  Fever and vomiting may occur but are less common. Healthy adults usually recover within a few days from this infection, but children, the elderly, and people with underlying health conditions do have an increased risk of developing a life-threatening condition called hemolytic uremic syndrome."

Click here for more information on E. coli and click here for more on the Mercer Island boil water advisory.

Stay with Q13 FOX News for updates on this developing story.