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E. Coli Outbreak

Jun 13th, 2012

E. coli14 people in six states are reported to have gotten sick because of the same strain of E.coli bacteria. As of Friday, June 8th, 14 cases of illnesses have been reported across 6 states- 2 cases in Alabama, 1 in California and Florida, 5 in Georgia, 4 in Louisiana, and one in Tennessee. A 21-month old girl in Louisiana succumbed to death after fighting the infection for weeks in a hospital.

According to CDC’s (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) report, the outbreak is caused by Shiga toxin-producing E. coli or STEC 0145 which is associated with an outbreak that happened in the 1990s because of hamburger meat. However for this case,  there is no evidence as of yet that links the new outbreak to meat.

E. coli is believed to be commonly contracted from undercooked meat especially beef, contaminated water, raw milk, unpasteurized apple juice and cider, produce like sprouts, lettuce, spinach.

A person infected with STEC may experience watery diarrhea, severe abdominal cramping (sometimes with blood), vomiting, fever, and chills. The incubation period ranges from 1 to 8 days.

As of now, the cause of the outbreak remains unknown. For the meantime, health officials are urging everyone to take precautionary measures to avoid contracting the bacteria. The key is in proper food preparation and clean hygiene. Always wash or sanitize your hands especially before eating or preparing food, after using the bathroom and after playing with pets.. When cooking meat, cook them thoroughly ensuring that meat is cooked inside and out. Wash the fruits and vegetables. And after preparing meat and fruits, clean the utensils, the counter top and sink with disinfectant. Do not eat or drink raw or unpasteurized dairy products.

People infected with E. coli should drink a lot of water to avoid dehydration. Usually it lasts for 5-10 days before it goes away on its own. Do not take drugs that stop diarrhea.

If you have any concerns about E.coli contact your health care provider or call your New York health insurance carrier for a provider near you.


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