July 23, 2024

E. coli Outbreak in Cache County, Utah Sickens Six

An E. coli outbreak in Cache County, Utah has sickened at least six people, according to the Bear River Health Department and news reports. This area is more than 100 miles away from Lehi, Utah, where there may be hundreds sickened in an E. coli outbreak that is preliminarily linked to irrigation water.

E. coli Outbreak in Cache County, Utah Sickens Six

Jordan Mathis, health officer at the Bear River Health Department, told HJ News, “Although we are actively working to identify the source of this outbreak, there is no risk to the general public at this time. However, we advise residents to practice good hygiene, such as thoroughly washing their hands, especially after using the restroom and before handling food.”

The type of E. coli that causes illness in humans is found in the digestive tracts of ruminant animals, such as cows and goats. Those animals may carry the bacteria but will not get sick. Foods that are often contaminated with this pathogen include ground beef, leafy greens, raw milk, raw sprouts, and unpasteurized cider.

Symptoms of an E. coli infection include the characteristic severe and painful abdominal cramps along with diarrhea that is usually bloody and watery. Some people may experience a mild fever, nausea, and vomiting. Symptoms usually start a few days after infection. Sometimes, a complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) can develop after a few days. This complication, which is a type of kidney failure,  is more common in children under the age of five. Symptoms of HUS include little or no urine output, easy brushing, a skin rash, lethargy, and pale skin.

To protect yourself, always cook ground beef to a final internal temperature of 160°F. Avoid consuming unpasteurized milk and cider. And rinse leafy greens as well as all fruits and vegetables thoroughly with water before preparation. Given the outbreak in Lehi, thoroughly wash garden-grown fruits and vegetables before consuming them.

If you have been experiencing these symptoms, see your doctor. You may be part of this E. coli outbreak in Cache County, Utah.

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