October 13 , 2004
The Randolph County Health Department announces that there has been a positive human case of E. coli 0157:H7 within the county, and urges all consumers, food workers, and restaurants to be certain that all ground meats are thoroughly cooked.
Environmental Health Supervisor, Janet Murray reports that “E. coli 0157:H7 is the organism that has been responsible for several deaths in children over the last few years. E. coli is found in the intestinal tract of cattle, deer, and humans and has been the cause of numerous outbreaks of bloody diarrhea from undercooked hamburger, unpasteurized milk, unpasteurized apple cider and alfalfa sprouts, as well as other food items. It has been documented that swimming pool water and natural waters also can carry the bacteria.”
Transmission of E. coli is mainly by ingestion and takes from 2 to 8 days to develop. The infectious dose is very low, and children are at risk to develop HUS (hemolytic uremic syndrome). General symptoms include diarrhea (usually bloody), abdominal cramps, and fever. Anyone with those symptoms should seek medical treatment, contact the Health Department, and request a stooltest to isolate the organism. Also a reminder that food-handlers that experience diarrhea are not permitted to handle foods while ill. With some diseases, such as E. coli, Hepatitis A, Salmonella typhi, and Shigella, a positive food handler is not even allowed within the premises.”
Murray also adds that prevention of the disease is good basic sanitation, good handwashing practices, and properly cooking foods, especially ground beef.
Any person with questions is encouraged to contact the Randolph County Health Department at 660-263-6643.