July 17, 2024

Update on Deadly E. coli Outbreak in Southwest Utah

An E. coli outbreak in Hildale, Utah that killed two children and originally sickened six has been updated by the Southwest Utah Public Health Department. Now eleven people have been sickened in this outbreak.

E coli bacteria

On July 5, 2017, testing on the city water system was negative for the pathogenic bacteria. On July 7, 2017, the case number increased to nine. Officials were continuing to test the water.

Also on July 7, 2017, the Health Department told residents of Hildale and surrounding areas to not consume any previously purchased ground beef until further notice. Ground beef has been linked to E. coli in the past, especially when the meat is not cooked to 160°F.

Then on July 11, 2017, the Department announced that there were 11 confirmed cases of E. coli in this outbreak. Officials also told residents of Hildale and surrounding areas not to consume raw milk in addition to previously purchased ground beef until further notice. Raw milk has been the vehicle for E. coli outbreaks in the past.

Some news sources are saying that dirty diapers had been discarded outside housing complex where some of the patients lived, and dogs had been in contact with them. One of the children who died had allegedly been cleaning the yard where the diapers had been left.

The symptoms of an E. oil infection are severe stomach cramps and diarrhea that is bloody and/or watery. A mild fever may be present. Because these symptoms are so severe, most people do seek medical treatment. However, treatment with antibiotics can increase the risk that the patient will develop hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which is a type of kidney failure.

To prevent E. coli infections, do not prepare food or drink for others, and don’t serve others food, if you have a diarrheal illness. Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before preparing or eating food, and before preparing or touching anything you give to a baby. And wash your hands well after contact with animals.

Cook meats, especially all ground meats, to 160°F as tested with a reliable meat thermometer. Do not consume raw milk and products made with raw milk. And don’t swallow water when swimming.

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