December 3, 2016

Indiana E. coli Outbreak Grows to 4 Confirmed Cases

The Indiana Department of Health says there are four confirmed cases of E. coli and three probable cases in that state. Officials do not know the source of this outbreak, but are investigating.

E. coli iStockphotoThose sickened live in Fulton, Marshall, and Wabash Counties. No new cases of possible E. coli have been reported to the agency since the start of August.

E. coli is an infectious disease that is spread through contact with feces. It is critical that this infection is accurately diagnosed, since treatment with antibiotics can increase the risk of serious complications, such as hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). The department is working with families of patients to make sure the illness does not spread with person-to-person contact.

E. coli bacteria are found in the guts of ruminant animals such as sheep, goats, and cattle. People get sick when they eat food contaminated with this pathogenic bacteria, or have contact with infected animals or people.

The symptoms of an E. coli infection include diarrhea that  may be watery and/or bloody, severe abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, and a slight fever. If you live in Indiana and have experienced these symptoms, see your doctor as soon as possible. E. coli is a reportable illness, and your doctor will tell the state about it.

The seven cases being investigated include one death. Sadly, a 9-year-old girl has died from complications of this infection.

Anyone who has a diarrheal illness should stay home from school, work, or daycare until they are symptom-free. People who have had E. coli infections should have two negative stool tests before they return to work or school.

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