HILDALE, Utah – The same E. Coli outbreak that has killed two children in Southern Utah, has now spread to 11 individuals.
The Southwest Utah Public Health Department is investigating the situation but advise residents to “not to consume raw milk or any previously purchased ground beef until further notice.”
The two deaths were a result of HUS (hemolytic uremic syndrome), a complication of E. coli infection that causes kidney damage.
According to a spokesman for the health department last week, the water in the area has been tested and they are confident it is not the source of the contamination.
The disease-causing types of E. coli are usually spread to humans when tiny amounts of human or animal feces get in the mouth, says the Southwest Utah Public Health Department. They say these particles can come from unwashed hands, contaminated water or food, and animal exposure.
“The general symptoms of E.coli can include stomach cramps, diarrhea (often bloody), vomiting, and fever (usually 101 F or lower). Bloody diarrhea is a symptom characteristic of the strain involved in the outbreak. Symptoms will appear between one and ten days after exposure. Most people will recover within five to seven days after becoming ill,” reports the health department.
The Southern Utah health department recommends thorough hand washing after animal exposure, using the restroom, changing diapers, and before and after food preparation to prevent the spread of the bacteria. They also recommend proper food preparation by keeping raw meat separate from other foods, cooking meat to safe temperatures (usually 165 degrees F), and refrigerating foods that can spoil within two hours.
For more information about the disease or contact information refer to the Soutwest Utah Public Health Department website.