HILDALE, Utah -- Two children are dead and several people are sick following an apparent outbreak of E.coli along the border of Arizona and Utah, an area known as the Arizona strip.
The Southwest Utah Public Health Department confirms it is investigating the outbreak that left four individuals hospitalized. According to a public notice from the SUPHD posted on Facebook, department investigators do not believe the community at-large to be at risk.
E.coli is a bacterium commonly found in the intestines, but some types can cause serious food poisoning and even death in humans.
Donia Jessop, who is running for mayor of Hildale, lives next door to one of the victims. She said the health department tested city water. The tests came back clean and safe to drink.
However with Fourth of July picnics and festivities this week, she and many others in the community worry about additional people getting sick.
"We are using social media and talking to residents in Hildale and Colorado City about the seriousness of this. We're telling everyone to wash their hands multiple times a day," Jessop said.
She added that people should be especially careful around food this holiday.
"People need to use hand sanitizer if clean water isn't available and people serving food plan to wear rubber gloves," Jessop said.
Jessop said the two children who died were just 3 and 6 years old.
"We appreciate the health department working overtime on this investigation. We don't want to lose any more people to E.coli," Jessop said.
According to Jessop, three homes are suspect -- two in Hildale and one in Colorado City. Jessop said those homes have been thoroughly scrubbed and sanitized to minimize the chance of contamination from them.