Indiana health officials are investigating an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak that includes three confirmed cases, three suspected cases and one fatality. All of the cases are in the northern Indiana counties Fulton, Wabash, and Marshall.
“Our hearts go out to the family who lost a loved one to illness,” said Indiana State Health Commissioner Jerome Adams, M.D., M.P.H., said in a statement. “Nothing can ease the pain of the family’s loss. We are working diligently to gather information about illness that may be connected to this outbreak so we can prevent others from getting sick.”
E. coli O157:H7 can be found in the intestines of healthy animals, such as cattle, sheep and goats and is shed in their feces. People become infected when they eat food contaminated with microscopic amounts of feces. Once infected, they also shed the bacteria in their stool and can spread illness without careful hygiene.
Symptoms of an E.coli infection include abdominal cramping, diarrhea, that can be bloody and vomiting. Symptoms usually begin three to four days after exposure and last about a week.
About 10 percent of children with E. coli infections will develop a severe complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) which causes kidney failure, seizure, stroke and coma.