One E. coli
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
"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
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
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
* 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.