Public Health Officials Investigating E.coli Cases

Initial investigations indicate that the source is off campus and on-campus dining is not related to the source. BCPH staff is working closely with CU and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) to identify the source of the outbreak and any additional cases among students and the public.

 

Source of Article:  http://media-newswire.com/release_1075117.html


(Media-Newswire.com) - Boulder County Public Health ( BCPH ) is currently investigating a cluster of E. coli O157:H7 in the county. Since September 23rd, BCPH has investigated eight related cases. A cluster of seven cases includes CU students.

Initial investigations indicate that the source is off campus and on-campus dining is not related to the source. BCPH staff is working closely with CU and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment ( CDPHE ) to identify the source of the outbreak and any additional cases among students and the public.

"Our number one priority is to protect the public's health by identifying the source of this outbreak. Therefore, we are asking anyone who has had symptoms of diarrhea, specifically bloody diarrhea, since September 20 to contact their healthcare provider or BCPH," said Nisha Alden, BCPH epidemiologist.

E. coli infection is a diarrheal illness caused by several types of E coli bacteria. It is spread most easily when people eat or drink food or water contaminated with human or animal feces or from infected symptomatic individuals. E. coli is not spread through the air by coughing or sneezing.

Symptoms of E. coli infection include sudden onset of watery diarrhea ( often bloody ), abdominal cramping, and occasionally vomiting. About one-third of affected people develop fevers. The disease is generally mild in adults, but can be severe and debilitating in the very young and the elderly. Infections with E.coli 0157:H7 generally last between 5 and 10 days. Any patient with multiple episodes of watery and/or bloody diarrhea should be seen by their health care providers.

E.coli 0157:H7 infections are generally not treated with antibiotics because antibiotics can increase the risk of more severe symptoms, such as hemolytic uremic syndrome ( HUS ) resulting in acute kidney failure.

"Hand washing is important, especially after using the bathroom," said Pamela Talley, CU Wardenburg Health Center physician. "People with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or any other stomach ailment should drink plenty of water or other liquids with electrolytes and should not prepare food for others."

In order to prevent, E. coli is also important to thoroughly cook meat and poultry, wash utensils and work surfaces after contact with raw meat, wash fruit and vegetables thoroughly and avoid unpasteurized juices and milk products.

If anyone has experienced these symptoms, or would like more information, they should call their healthcare provider or the BCPH Communicable Disease Control Program at 303-413-7500 during normal working hours.

To make an appointment with a Wardenburg health care provider, call 303-492-5432. A fact sheet is available on the Wardenburg Health Center website at www.colorado.edu/healthcenter.

Contact

Chana Goussetis, Health Communications Specialist, 303-441-1457
Bronson Hilliard, Director of Media Relations, 303-735-6183

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