E.coli

Update (7-21-17, 5:00pm): While the investigation continues into a source for this E. coli outbreak, we’ve determined ground beef is not a likely cause.  The advisory not to consume previously purchased ground beef is discontinued. In the meantime, health officials encourage you to follow these practices to prevent infection:

  • Wash hands with warm, soapy water before and after preparing or eating food, after using the bathroom and changing diapers, after contact with animals or environments with exposure to animal feces, and before touching anything that enters an infant’s mouth.
  • Don’t allow raw food to touch cooked food. Carefully clean all surfaces and objects that have touched raw meat.
  • Cook meats thoroughly. Ground beef should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees. Use a meat thermometer.

Update (7-20-17, 4:30pm): Investigation of the E. coli outbreak continues with the combined efforts of the Southwest Utah Public Health Department, Mohave County Department of Health, Utah Department of Health, and the Arizona Department of Health Services. These agencies have also been joined by representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

  • Confirmed case count is 12.
  • The source of this outbreak has not been identified.
  • Because E. coli can be passed from several different sources, including person to person, it is always important to follow these practices to prevent infection:
    • Wash hands with warm, soapy water before and after preparing or eating food, after using the bathroom and changing diapers, after contact with animals or environments with exposure to animal feces, and before touching anything that enters an infant’s mouth.
    • Don’t allow raw food to touch cooked food. Carefully clean all surfaces and objects that have touched raw meat.
    • Cook meats thoroughly. Ground beef should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees. Use a meat thermometer.
    • Avoid raw (unpasteurized) milk, dairy products, and juices.
    • Don’t swallow water when swimming.
  • Link to archived updates
  • Link to E. coli precautions for individuals (or family members) who are sick
  • Link to news release (7-3-16) regarding E. coli outbreak

 

What is E. coli and how is it spread?

  • Escherichia coli (E. coli) are bacteria commonly found in the environment, foods, and the feces of people and animals.
  • E. coli can be spread through unwashed hands, contaminated food (like_53234379_escherichia-coli.gif undercooked ground beef or unpasteurized food), water, animal exposure, and soil (where it can remain for several months).
  • People can become infected when they swallow tiny particles of infected human or animal feces which contain E. coli

What happens if people are infected?

  • Most types of E. coli are harmless, but some strains can make people sick.
  • The type involved in this outbreak is called E. coli O157:H7.
  • Symptoms usually begin 3-4 days after exposure to the bacteria and include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea (often bloody), and vomiting.
  • Most people recover within a week without treatment. Some people with E. coli O157:H7 develop a life-threatening complication called Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS), which can cause kidney failure.
  • HUS is more common in children younger than 5 years of age and older adults, although people any age can be affected.

When should people seek medical care?

  • Contact your healthcare provider if you have diarrhea that lasts for more than three days or is accompanied by fever, blood in the stool, or severe vomiting.
  • Seek emergency medical care if you experience any of these HUS symptoms following a diarrheal illness: urinating less often; fatigue; pale skin; or small, unexplained bruises or bleeding from the nose and mouth.

How can E. coli infection be prevented?

  • Always wash your hands with warm, soapy water
    • Before and after preparing or eating food.
    • After using the bathroom and changing diapers.
    • After contact with animals or their environments where there is exposure to animal feces.
    • Before preparing or touching anything that enters an infant’s mouth.
    • Use hand-sanitizer if soap and water is not available.
  • Don’t allow raw food to touch cooked food. Don’t use the same cutting board or plate. Carefully clean countertops, dishes, and utensils which have touched raw meat with hot, soapy water.
  • Cook meats thoroughly. Ground beef should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Pork should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees. Use a meat thermometer.
  • Avoid raw (unpasteurized) milk and unpasteurized dairy products/juices.
  • Don’t swallow water when swimming

For more information, visit:

Mohave County Department of Public Health (or Facebook page)

Utah Department of Health

Arizona Department of Health Services

CDC (Centers for Disease Control)

4 replies
  1. Roger New
    Roger New says:

    Has this E. coli strain actually been isolated from current stores or previously purchased ground beef in this community? What are the ages of all of the infected individuals?

    Reply
    • David Heaton
      David Heaton says:

      No definitive results of testing so far. Advisory is cautionary action as investigation includes focus on food contamination and animal exposure risk. Individual case information is not being released other than to confirm that most are children.

      Reply

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