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      Health officials investigate 5 cases of E. coli

      State health officials are investigating a growing number of cases of E. coli in the Heart of Missouri.

      Officials with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services have indentified 5 cases of E. coli in Mid-Missouri over the past 5 weeks.

      Doctors at Columbiaâ??s Providence Urgent Care recently sent one of their patients to the emergency room for E. coli.

      Investigators have not found a source of the life-threatening bacteria for the 5 recent E. coli cases.

      Providence Urgent Care Dr. Jason Zerrer said, â??You need to look at the most common reasons why you would get this bacteria. It usually comes from undercooked ground beef, undercooked ground pork, swimming in and drinking contaminated water or eating contaminated vegetables. With that in mind, you need to stay away from those kinds of things.â??

      Two other recent cases of E. coli in Mid-Missouri involve children.

      Doctors diagnosed a 2-year-old and a 17-month-old toddler with an E. coli related syndrome that can cause permanent kidney damage.