A county health department in Missouri has linked four confirmed cases of E. coli O157:H7 infection to ham sold by a local meat market. The business is recalling some of its products.

Williams Brothers Meat Market in Washington, MO, is under investigation by the Franklin County Health Department. Public health officials have asked that anyone who has become ill after eating any products from Williams Brothers contact the county department at 636-583-7309. 

There is concern that consumers may have unused portions of the Williams Brothers products in their homes. The public is urged to check their refrigerators and freezers for the recalled products and immediately throw them away or return them to the place of purchase.

Williams Brothers is recalling all cured or smoked ready-to-eat whole ham, ham steaks, and sandwich ham products packaged between May 25 and June 1. Owner Steve Williams told eMissourian.com “we’re sorry for the inconvenience.”

“We believe it’s actually a cross-contamination. In other words, it’s been found in one 16-pound bone-in ham,” he told eMissourian.com.

Franklin County officials began investigating the E. coli outbreak in August after confirmed cases were reported. At least one of the four patients became ill in June. A fifth patient infected by the same strain of Listeria monocytogenes is being considered a probable outbreak case. 

Anyone who has eaten any of the recalled products and developed symptoms of E. coli infection should seek medical attention and tell their doctors about the possible exposure to the bacteria.

Symptoms of E. coli may include stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting. It can cause serious and sometimes life-threatening illnesses. Otherwise healthy adults often recover after a few days. 

People in high-risk groups can develop more serious infections and complications that include kidney failure. High-risk people include young children, the elderly, pregnant women and individuals with compromised immune systems.

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