December 7, 2019

Two More Illnesses in Philadelphia E. coli Outbreak Brings Total to 16

The Philadelphia E. coli outbreak has now sickened two more people, according to news reports. There are now 16 people sickened in that outbreak, which officials think is linked to restaurants in the area.

Two More Illnesses in Philadelphia E. coli Outbreak Brings Total to 16

However, officials are not releasing the names of restaurants they think are involved in this outbreak. James Garrow, spokesperson for the health department, said in a statement, “The Health Department’s investigation, like all foodborne illness investigations, takes time. This a wide-ranging investigation that asks very sick people to list every single thing that they’ve eaten or drank, at the level of every individual ingredient, during the period when they were exposed to the bug. This generates a massive list of possible items and locations that may have been the culprit.”

Interviews with patients take time, and conducting traceback investigations once a food is identified is also time consuming. Garrow added that sometimes an outbreak is never solved.

The illnesses are caused by shiga toxin-producing E. coli bacteria. The pathogen produces a toxin that attacks the lining of the intestine and also destroys red blood cells. Symptoms of this illness include a mild fever, severe and painful stomach and abdominal cramps, and diarrhea that is usually bloody and watery. Symptoms begin a few days to a week after exposure to the pathogen. Most people do seek medical treatment when they contract this infection because the symptoms are so severe.

There is no mention of anyone developing hemolytic uremic syndrome, a serious and potentially life-threatening complication of an E. coli infection that can cause kidney failure. There is also no mention about whether or not anyone has been hospitalized in this outbreak.

If you have eaten at restaurants in the Philadelphia area and have been experiencing these symptoms, see your doctor. You may be part of this Philadelphia E. coli outbreak.

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