An outbreak of E.Coli has affected 3 women in a Massachusetts town. The outbreak is currently under investigation by the state’s Department of Public Health. An article on the FoodSafetyNews.com explained that since May 20, the women have been admitted to Newtown-Wellesley Hospital in the town of Newton.
This outbreak highlights the seriousness of E.Coli contaminations and subsequent outbreaks. Read what the article on FoodSafetyNews.com reported on the outbreak:
According to the doctor, all three women have been infected with E. coli O157:H7 and have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a kidney disease associated with the most severe E. coli infections.
First, a 53 year-old woman was admitted May 20. A 44 year-old woman was admitted on June 6, and a 41 year-old woman entered the emergency department on June 11.
“The demographics of this current cluster is similar to that of the German/French experience in 2011 with the new O104:H4 strain with enteroaggregative and Shiga toxin phenotype,” the doctor wrote, referring to a massive European E. coli outbreak in the summer of 2011 that ultimately sickened nearly 4,000 and killed 53. That outbreak was linked to fresh sprouts grown in Germany’s Lower Saxony.
People need to be aware of E.coli and how they can contract the bacteria. Ecoli(aka Escherichia coli) are a large and multiform group of bacteria that lives in the intestines of animals and people. Most strains of E.colibacteria are harmless while others can make you very sick. Some kinds of E. coli can cause diarrhoea, while others cause respiratory illness, urinary tract infections, pneumonia and other illnesses as it did in the 3 patients in the story above. Some kinds of E. coli cause disease by making a poison called Shiga toxin. The bacteria that make this poison are called “Shiga toxin-producing” E. coli, or STEC.
People of any age can become infected with E. coli poisoning. However, the elderly and the very young are more likely to suffer from severe illness and pregnant women are also more susceptible and can suffer miscarriages if they become infected.
The symptoms are the same as they are for most foodborne illnesses that include stomach pain, bloody diarrhoea, fever occasionally and vomiting. The symptoms usually begin slowly but gradually become more severe. It often starts with a slight stomach ache.
If we are aware of the ways that harmful bacteria such as E.Coli get into the body, we can better guard ourselves against it. These are the most common ways that people become infected with E.Coli:
- Eating undercooked meat.
- Eating raw fruits, vegetables, and sprouts that have been washed or grown in dirty water.
- Contact with drinking water, lakes, or swimming pools that have sewage in them.
- People who have not washed their hands after going to the toilet.
- Toddlers who are not toilet trained.
- Adults who do not wash their hands carefully after changing diapers.
People should be extra careful during times of an outbreak. Take precautions such as cooking all food thoroughly especially meat and poultry. Also never put cooked meats on the plate they were on before cooking, keep all raw meat away from other food.
Also wash your hands, counter, dishes, cutting board, and all utensils with hot soapy water after they have touched raw meat, greens, spinach, or sprouts.
If you are at a restaurant don’t accept undercooked chicken or hamburgers also ask for a clean plate and a fresh bun.