MSU E. coli Linked to Eight Cases State-Wide; Source Unknown
Date Published: Wednesday, September 24th, 2008
Source of Article: http://www.newsinferno.com/archives/3891
The E. coli strain that has thus sickened students at Michigan State University has now been linked to at least eight other cases in that state, including one at the University of Michigan and five at the Lenawee County Jail, state health officials said. Although investigators believe that all of the patients fell ill from the same food source, the source has not yet been identified. “The problem is that we still don’t know what the source is,” said James McCurtis, spokesman for the Michigan Department of Community Health.
Twenty-seven students at MSU have fallen ill with bloody diarrhea; seven were hospitalized. Stool samples in eight patients confirmed E. coli O157:H7 contamination. Bloody diarrhea is a common symptom of the O157:H7 strain.
Health investigators initially focused on MSU’s east complex dorms, which is where most of the ill students live, according to Dr. Dean G. Sienko, director of the Ingham County Health Department. Now that the cases are linked to others around the state, it is possible that the contaminated food was widely distributed.
Lab test results—DNA fingerprinting—for three
students matched those of patients who also fell ill in Washtenaw, St. Clair,
Wayne, and Lenawee counties since September 8, McCurtis
E. coli O157:H7 is a virulent, contagious, and sometimes fatal strain that is typically spread when a person fails to properly wash his/her hands and then handles food. Once the food is ingested, the bacteria run amok. E. coli are found in animal intestines and feces and while some strains are necessary for digestion, some are harmful, even deadly. Of particular concern is the virulent O157:H7 strain that is generally found to be the culprit in E. coli-related food-borne illness outbreaks and has been confirmed to be to blame in this outbreak. O157:H7 is among those E. coli in a group called Verocytotoxigenic E. coli (VTEC), which are linked to food poisoning, are very serious, and can cause fatal blood poisoning, cystitis, deadly septicemia, and death.
E. coli is the leading cause of food-borne illness
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