NEWTON, Mass. (WHDH)–Contamination concerns in Wellesley. E. Coli sent several people to the hospital. The Department of Public Health is working to find the source or trying to find out where it's coming from.

Three women are seriously ill here at the hospital. Two of them from Wellesley, one from Waltham. But what's really scary for a lot of women around here, particularly, that no one knows how they contracted the illness.

Officials at Newton-Wellesley Hospital confirmed three middle-aged women were hospitalized infected with e coli bacteria. The first woman was admitted two weeks ago. The other two last week. A fourth case was also identified, but that patient was treated and released. Women in Wellesley are worried.

“I am surprised by that. It's alarming news,” said Julia Kenny, works in Wellesley.

“Very scary. Very scary,” one woman said.

“I don't want to get sick and I don't want these guys to get sick,” another woman said.

State and local health officials are looking for links between the women in hopes of identifying the source of the bacteria, but it hasn't been identified so far.

“There’s some panic there. We're inundated with calls and e-mails. It's been posted on some forums and sort of gone viral,” said Leonard Izzo, Wellesley Director of Public Health.

Hospital officials say investigators are giving them hope of having some answers soon.

“I have confidence that they are going to be able to identify the source and we are all hoping it's on a limited basis,” said Dr. Leslie Selbovitz, Newton-Wellesley Hospital Chief Medical Officer.

Until then experts recommend washing raw vegetables well, cooking meat thoroughly and making an extra effort to wash hands well, especially when handling food.

“I think we want to have faith in the authorities that they will figure out where it's coming from and go from there,” a third woman said.

Hospital officials said the ill women are being treated. They are recovering and responding to their treatment. They say the big worry now is keeping anybody else from falling ill.

Join our Newsletter for the latest news right to your inbox