Increased E.coli cases in Carroll County

Greene County residents who travel to Carroll County for pleasure or business are alerted that Carroll County Public Health is currently investigating a cluster of cases of E.coli infections in that county. This investigation is part of the routine and continuous disease monitoring conducted by county health agencies on a daily basis.

This investigation offers an opportunity to emphasize the importance of using safe food handling when serving food to large numbers of people especially when food is served over an extended period of time. The most important thing to remember is that hot foods must stay hot and cold foods must stay cold for the entire time the food is being served. This may require use of heating elements to maintain hot foods and ice to maintain cold foods properly (visit idph.iowa.gov/cade/foodborne-illness for more information on safe food handling).

“Public health interviews ill persons to better understand how they became ill, and well persons to understand why they didn’t become ill. This allows public health to identify what should be done to prevent other people from becoming sick,” said County Public Health coordinator Julie Towne. “All information given during these interviews is completely confidential and is only used to help epidemiologists, who are a kind of ‘disease detectives’. We rely on individuals to voluntarily participate in the surveys and their cooperation is critical to figuring out why people are ill and what actions should be taken to protect others from becoming ill. Cooperation can help your friends and family stay well.”

  1. coli infection may lead to a wide variety of symptoms. Most symptoms start three to four days after exposure to the bacterium. The most common symptoms include diarrhea (usually bloody), abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting and chills. E. coli infection usually does not cause a fever. A rare complication that can occur is called Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS). HUS is a kidney disease which can lead to kidney failure and death. This complication is most common in younger children. About 15 percent of children infected with E. coli will develop HUS.

 

If you become ill with diarrhea, please take the following measures to prevent spread of diseases like E.coli:

  • Wash hands after using the toilet and after changing diapers. Wash the diapered child’s hands also.
  • When caring for someone with diarrhea, wash your hands with plenty of soap and water after cleaning the bathroom, helping the person use the toilet, or changing diapers, soiled clothes, or soiled sheets. Be sure to wash their hands also.
  • If you are sick do not fix food for other people until at least two days after your symptoms stop.

 

Because persons with E.coli can spread illness to others; those who work in high risk settings, such as food handlers, healthcare providers, child care providers or child care attendees, must have negative stool tests before returning to work or child care. All other patients with diarrhea caused by bacteria like E. coli should stay home until at least 24 hours AFTER the diarrhea ends.

 

For more information about E. coli infection, visit idph.iowa.gov/cade/disease-information/ecoli or contact Carroll County Public Health at 712-794-5408.

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