Health officials confirm E. coli caused sickness

By Joe Benedict/News Network


Source of Article:


Published: Monday, October 20, 2008 2:30 PM CDT

While the source of the case of E. coli infection has not been confirmed, the Lee County Health Department has confirmed that it is the bacteria that has caused one sickness. The department also is investigating a second possible case of infection in the county.

The public health department released a statement Wednesday concerning one possible case of E. coli 0157:H7 occurring in the county. It began an investigation, along with assistance from the Iowa Department of Public Health. The results were returned as positive for E. coli on Thursday.

The Hancock County, Ill. Health Department also is investigating a possible case of E. coli infection. That department cannot release any information until it has confirmed a sickness is caused by the bacteria.

The Lee County Health Department shared several steps that can be taken to prevent the spread of the bacteria. Persons should not fix or touch food meant for others while having diarrhea. Always wash hands thoroughly with soap and water before eating and before and after fixing any food, especially raw meat.

Wash hands after using the toilet and after changing diapers and wash the child's hands. When caring for someone with diarrhea, wash hands with plenty of soap and water after cleaning the bathroom, helping the person use the toilet or changing diapers, soiled clothes or sheets.

Always refrigerate meat. Never leave raw meat at room temperature. Never eat raw or undercooked ground meat. If serving an undercooked hamburger or other ground meat product in a restaurant, sent it back for further cooking. Cook all ground beef and hamburger thoroughly, to a temperature of 155 degrees for at least 15-16 seconds or until juices run clear and no pink is visible.

Always wash hands, cutting boards and utensils between fixing raw meat or poultry and other items such as fruits and vegetables. Drink only pasteurized milk, juice or cider.

The LCHD said the Iowa Department of Public Health has investigated 134 cases of E. coli statewide this year. Most of the cases are not related to each other, or to an outbreak. More facts can be found on the public health website at



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