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Health agency probes E.coli outbreak in polygamist Utah city

HILDALE, Utah (AP) -- Utah health authorities said they are investigating an outbreak of E.coli after two children died in a city on the Arizona border that's home to a polygamist Mormon sect.

The investigation in Hildale, Utah, comes after the deaths in recent weeks, the Southwest Utah Public Health Department told the Salt Lake Tribune (

The cause and number of E.coli cases was not available, said David Heaton, an official at the department.

The agency does not consider the town at large to be at risk, the Tribune reported.

"All the water testing we've done in Hildale has been clean," Heaton said, "so we're focusing all our efforts on contaminated food or exposure to animals."

The department is looking at one location, he said, declining to identify it because of the ongoing investigation.

E.coli can cause diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches or other symptoms.

It has been a while since there's been an outbreak of E. coli in southern Utah, Heaton said, adding that there have been individual cases.

Hildale and adjacent Colorado City, Arizona, have been dominated for decades by members of the polygamous Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints.