E coli – United States
A number of people were infected with E. coli O157 in Washington State, U.S.
The outbreak is linked to locally produced yogurt sold by Pure Eire Dairy.
11 confirmed cases of the disease were recorded in Washington, including six children under the age of 10. Seven patients were admitted to hospital. Another three probable cases were reported in the Moses Lake area in Grant County, Washington state. A child in Arizona was also infected with the same strain of the pathogen. She was allegedly exposed by a relative who traveled from Washington state.
Photo: E coli at 10 000 x magnification.
Some strains of E. coli are harmful. Shigatoxigenic Escherichia coli (STEC) and verotoxigenic E. coli (VTEC) are strains of the bacterium Escherichia coli that produce either Shiga toxin or Shiga-like toxin (verotoxin). Only a minority of the strains cause illness in humans. These are collectively known as enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC).
They are a major cause of foodborne-illness. When infecting humans, they often cause gastroenteritis, enterocolitis, bloody diarrhea, and sometimes cause a severe complication called hemolytic-uremic syndrome.
After eating contaminated food, the first symptoms of infection can emerge anywhere from 1 to 10 days later, but usually after 3 to 4 days. These early symptoms can include diarrhea (which is often bloody), stomach cramps, mild fever, or vomiting that results in dehydration and reduced urine. Hemolytic uremic syndrome typically develops about 5 to 10 days after the first symptoms, but can take up to 3 weeks to manifest, and occurs at a time when the diarrhea is improving.
The country with the highest incidence of hemolytic-uremic syndrome is Argentina. But it can occur in frequently large outbreaks in any country.
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