OLYMPIA (AP) — State health officials say they are investigating clusters of Salmonella that appear to be linked to eating pork.

At least 56 cases have been identified in eight counties around the state. At least 44 of the people sickened by Salmonella reside in King County. The rest of the cases have been reported in Snohomish, Mason, Thurston, Pierce, Grays Harbor and Yakima counties.

Health officials say all of them were infected with the same strain of Salmonella bacteria. The disease investigation shows a potential exposure came from whole roasted pigs cooked and served at private events.

The source of contamination is still under investigation. Health officials warn consumers handling or eating pork to cook the meat to an internal temperature of 145 degrees.

It's also important to sanitize cutting boards, knives, and countertops that come into contact with raw meat by using a solution of bleach water or anti-bacterial cleaner.

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