2010-09-12 / Front Page

Confirmed cases of E.coli keep health officials busy

Three Huron County individuals that are hospitalized with confirmed cases of E.coli0157:H7, and two others suspected to have been possibly infected, have medical authorities scrambling to find a potential source.

Cindy Rochefort, Huron County Health Services Director said the source of the infection has not been identified and of those involved, one patient has tested negative and the fifth is awaiting test results from the lab.

"We continue to work with local health care providers and Michigan Department of Community Health," Rochefort said.

"Currently, no identifiable sources has been found, If it is identified, the source will be shared with the community. Practicing prevention is the best means to fend off the illness. Several children and an adult in Huron County are experiencing gastrointestinal (bowel) infections and at this time the presumptive diagnosis is E.coli0157:H7"

Rochefort gave some tips, including: Do not eat under-cooked meat products (Cook at 155 degrees fahrenheit); Make sure the cooked meat is brown throughout, not pink, and the juices run clear; Drink only pasteurized milk, juice and cider; Children under five years of age, immune-compromised persons and the elderly should avoid eating alfalfa sprouts; People must wash their hands carefully with soap and water, after using the toilet, visiting petting zoos and/or farms to reduce the risk of spreading the disease.

Health Department officials cautioned some people may experience only mild diarrhea or no symptoms at all.

"Most identified cases develop severe diarrhea and abdominal cramps," the release explained.

"Blood is often seen in the stool and usually, little or no fever is present. These symptoms usually appear three to four days after the exposure, but may develop within two to 10 days. In some cases, E.coli 0157:H7 can cause severe kidney disease."

In an updated report late this past week, Rochefort said DNA finger printing test results were received and results indicated all three confirmed cases are much different from each other and officials do not expect to find a single common source.

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