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E.coli outbreak hits polygamist Utah town

HILDALE, Utah -- Utah health authorities say 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 Salt Lake Tribune reports that the Southwest Utah Public Health Department said Saturday that the investigation in Hildale, Utah, comes after the deaths in recent weeks. 

David Heaton of the department said the cause and number of cases was not available. 

CBS affiliate KUTV reports that the outbreak is confined to a limited area and there is no risk to the larger community. 

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

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

E. coli one of the most common causes of foodborne illness in the U.S., sickening about 265,000 people each year, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is usually spread by ingesting tiny amounts of human or animal feces, either through contaminated food, unwashed hands or animals.