11/1/2008online: 11/1/2008

Test shows E. coli case unrelated



Source of Article:  http://www.thehawkeye.com/Story/e-coli-folo7-110108


Hancock County case from different strain than five in southeast Iowa.

The Hawk Eye

DNA testing has shown the E. coli case in Hancock County, Ill., to be unrelated to those in southeast Iowa.

The Hancock County Health Department, in conjunction with the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control, found the case to be unrelated through pulsed field gel electrophoresis DNA typing as of Oct. 24.

No further information is being released at this time.

Six cases of E. coli 0157:H7 have been confirmed in the region since Oct. 16.: one case in Hancock County, Ill., three in Lee County and two in Des Moines County.

Since late September, the Iowa Department of Public Health has investigated 29 cases of E. coli 0157:H7 and related strains, compared to an average of 18.4 cases during the same period over the last five years.

Of the 29 cases, 22 involve children ages 12 and younger.

A press release issued by IDPH on Friday said all E. coli cases are investigated to determine if there are contaminated food items on the market, or if particular risks exist in the community, such as poorly chlorinated kiddie pools. Action is taken by public health officials if there is a suspicion of increased risk.

Addressing the cases in southeast Iowa, IDPH reported several things associated with the cases increased the risk of E. coli exposure, such as drinking unpasteurized apple cider, eating fresh, unwashed apples and eating ground beef.

"With the exception of the eastern Iowa cluster, all the other cases have been reported across the state and have no common exposure," said Patricia Quinlisk, IDPH medical director. "Thus it is important for everyone to be aware of how E. coli exposure can occur, and what each person can do to reduce their risk of becoming ill."

Potential sources of E. coli contamination include drinking raw, unpasteurized juice or milk; contact with farm animals either in a farm setting or petting zoo; consumption of under-cooked ground meats or foods contaminated by raw meat juices; and consumption of raw, unwashed produce. E. coli also can be transmitted from an ill person to a healthy person, which is why hand washing is very important.



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