E. coli claims the lives of two children


Source of Article: http://www.ksn.com/news/local/30892269.html


WICHITA, Kansas, October 13, 2008 Health officials in two Kansas counties continue investigating two fatal cases of E. coli contamination. They say the cases are isolated and unrelated and the public does not need to worry about a wide-spread outbreak. Nevertheless, the tragedies are a reminder of how lethal E. coli can be.

Both boys died after being taken to Wesley Medical Center here in Wichita. It is not known how 18-month-old Tanner Strickland, of Liberal, who passed away Wednesday, contracted the bacteria. His brother also came into contact with it, but will be okay. No other cases in Seward County have surfaced.

The other boy, an unidentified four-year-old, from Chase County, died Sunday.

"He's the only case in Chase County right now, said Cheryl Jones with the Chase County Health Department. He has an infant sister that is well and no one else associated with him has become ill."

Jones says the boys father is a rancher and because cow manure is a major source of E. coli, she says theres a good chance the four-year-old came into contact with and ingested cow manure or manure tainted water.

Lois Rayhal is an infection control nurse at Wesley Medical Center. She says the public most often hears about E. coli when theres a widespread outbreak, like this past summer when dozens of people got sick from tainted meat processed at Nebraska plant. But Rahal says such outbreaks are the exception, not the rule.

"It just takes a very small amount of bacteria to cause disease, Rahal said. "Most cases are isolated, where an individual child or adult comes in contact with E. coli through their own cattle, or visiting a farm."

Its a reminder of how important frequent handwashing is for both adults and children, especially after contact with cattle.

E. coli can also be contracted through tainted meat or vegetables that have been sprayed with cow manure tainted water. So, along with handwashing, proper food preparation is key.




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