Local E. coli Patients Recovering - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Local E. coli Patients Recovering

RICHLAND, Wash. - The two Tri-Cities patients suffering with E. coli bacteria are now on the way to a complete recovery.

One of the patients attends an elementary school in Richland.

Last week an outbreak of spinach contaminated with E. coli hit the country, so far 131 people have gotten sick. Two in the Tri-Cities. One, an elderly Richland woman, the other, a third grader at Marcus Whitman Elementary.

School officials said the boy got sick from spinach he ate at home, but just to be safe the district sent out letters to warn parents.

"Whenever something unusual comes up with a school we like to be up front with parents. We let them know what's going on, communicate any information we think would be helpful for them to have at home," said Steve Agaard, Richland School District.   

Some parents who received the letter said they have faith the district will do what it takes to protect their children.

"I don't think that anyone needs to get crazy and keep their child home for a month," said Sara Gonzales, Parent.   

Officials from the Benton Franklin Health Department agree. They said the boy who ate the spinach now shows no signs of symptoms and the elderly woman is recovering nicely. If parents are still concerned, Dr. Larry Jecha advises they look out for several symptoms.

"They can be a mild cramping, mild diaherra to severe cramping and severe diaherra to bloody diaherra and that distinguishes E. coli 157, it usually has bloody diaherra," said Dr. Larry Jecha, Benton Franklin Health Department.   

Jecha said any parent whose children has eaten spinach in the last ten days and shows symptoms should see a doctor.

Dr. Jecha also said although E. coli bacteria is very contagious it's highly unlikely any more students from Marcus Whitman will get sick.

Test results expected next week will determine whether the Tri-Cities outbreak comes from the same strand as the rest of the country.