Investigators identify biologics as a possible source of an E. Coli
Biologics have been tentatively determined to be the source of an outbreak of E. Coli O157 which sickened children in the Seattle-King County area of Washington.
All patients are under 15 years old and three are under 5 years old. The seven patients were reported between April 22 and May 1, according to Seattle-King County Public Health.
Six of the children were so ill that they had to be hospitalized. This includes two children who have developed a type of life-threatening kidney complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Both are recovering.
“Our investigation is ongoing. We have identified several types of fresh produce, mostly organic, common in the majority of cases, but we cannot yet rule out other possibilities, ”the health department reported in its update on the epidemic. .
“Public health is conducting interviews with cases and their parents / guardians to help identify common exposures. We are also working with the Washington State Department of Health to complete additional testing, to help identify possible related cases in other countries, and to begin tracing all products together. “
The health department is warning consumers that fresh fruits and vegetables – including organic produce – can sometimes contain germs such as E. Coli. Contamination of these foods has been implicated in many outbreaks in recent years. The department encourages consumers to rinse fresh produce well before preparing and consuming them raw.
Investigators are continuing their work on the outbreak and will post updates as new information becomes available.
About E. coli infections
Anyone who has eaten fresh organic produce and developed symptoms of an E. coli infection should see a doctor and tell their doctor about their possible exposure to the bacteria. Specific tests are needed to diagnose infections, which can mimic other illnesses.
Symptoms of E. coli infections vary for each person, but often include severe stomach cramps and diarrhea, which is often bloody. Some patients may also have a fever. Most patients recover within five to seven days. Others may develop serious or life-threatening symptoms and complications, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
About 5 to 10 percent of people diagnosed with E. coli infections develop a life-threatening complication of kidney disease known as hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Symptoms of HUS include fever, abdominal pain, feeling very tired, decreased frequency of urination, small bruising or unexplained bleeding, and pallor.
Many people with HUS recover within weeks, but some suffer permanent injuries or death. This condition can occur in people of any age, but it is more common in children under the age of five due to their immature immune system, older adults due to deteriorating immune system, and people with weakened immune systems. immune system is weakened, like cancer patients.
People who show symptoms of HUS should immediately seek emergency medical attention. People with HUS will likely be hospitalized because the disease can cause other serious and persistent problems such as high blood pressure, chronic kidney disease, brain damage, and neurological problems.
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