One E. coli case confirmed

Second case under investigation in Lee County.

By DARCIE HOENIG

Source of Article:  http://www.thehawkeye.com/Story/e-coli-folo-101708

One case of E. coli has been confirmed in Lee County and a second case is under investigation, according to the Lee County Health Department.

"With the first case, we did receive confirmation today of the existence of E. coli," said Julie Shilling, administrator at the Lee County Health Department. Preliminary lab results have indicated a possible second case of the infection in the county, she said.

Another possible case of E. coli also is being investigated in neighboring Hancock County, Ill., but no further information has been released.

"Right at this time, nothing is confirmed. We always have to have confirmation from IDPH before we can release anything," said Victoria Roberts, infectious diseases coordinator at the Hancock County (Ill.) Health Department.

Melanie Arnold, spokesperson for the Illinois Department of Public Health, said the state department is still investigating the matter, and there is no time frame for the investigation to conclude.

"It can be a very lengthy and difficult process," Arnold said. "There is a lot of different tracing back to do to determine the source."

In Lee County, local health officials have not identified the sources of the confirmed or reported cases of E. coli.

"We're in the process of trying to identify links between the cases," Schilling said. If there are commonalities in sources between multiple cases, the public will be notified, she said.

Patricia Quinlisk, state epidemiologist for the Iowa Department of Public Health, said the state individually investigates each possible case of the disease, but reiterated finding a source can be difficult.

"It's almost impossible to identify a source -- you can contract the disease from other people, animals, food," Quinlisk said. In a week's time, there could be 100 possible ways for an individual to become infected, she said.

The Iowa Department of Public Health has investigated 134 cases of E. coli statewide this year. The majority of cases occur sporadically and are not related to each other or an outbreak, she said.

Quinlisk said no business or facility has been asked to close or linked to the bacteria at this time.

According to the Lee County Health Department, E. coli 0157:H7 is a bacteria that causes diarrhea and may cause stomach cramps and chills. There is usually no fever.

Symptoms usually start three to four days after exposure but can be anywhere from two to eight days.

Rarely, the infection can cause the kidneys to stop working, especially in young children; the infection also can cause a person's blood-clotting system to malfunction.

The bacteria is usually spread by a person eating or drinking contaminated food or water. Raw milk and uncooked meat, especially ground meats, also can contain E. coli. The bacteria also can be transmitted from one person to another directly in families or in places like child care centers.

To prevent E. coli infection, the Lee County Health Department recommends:

* Washing hands after using the toilet and changing diapers;

* When caring for someone with diarrhea, wash your hands with plenty of soap and water;

* Always refrigerate meat and don't store meat at room temperature;

* Never eat raw or undercooked ground meat;

* Cook all ground beef and hamburger thoroughly;

* Always wash hands, cutting boards and utensils between fixing raw meat or poultry and other items such as fresh produce;

* Drink only pasteurized milk, juice or cider.

For more information about E. coli, visit www.idph.state.ia.us.

 

 

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