An E-coli outbreak of a form that is less common has sickened over 14 people in six states. The outbreak also claimed the life of a New Orleans girl who was just 21 months old, said the Centers for Disease Control. Through Friday, health officials in California, Alabama, Louisiana, Tennessee and Georgia had reported cases of the strain Shiga-toxin-producing E.Coli O145. The form that is more common is O157:H7. The first reported illness was on April 15, with the most recent being June 4, said the CDC.
E-Coli infections can take as long as three weeks from the start of a patient’s illness until confirmation that the patient is part of the outbreak. Up to now, there has been no known source of the recent outbreak. Officials from state health offices are interviewing people who have been ill to obtain information as to the foods they had eaten and other forms of exposure during the week prior to their illness.
The strain Shiga-toxin usually manifests as an illness between two and eight days from the time the person ingested the bacteria. Most sufferers develop a watery and bloody diarrhea along with abdominal cramps. Most of the time the illness will resolve itself with a week, but some cases can be more severe and last longer.
Most people fully recover but in rare cases, Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome develops which is a form of kidney failure. HUS could occur in anyone, of any age but is most often found in children less than five and in the elderly.
Since there is still no source from the outbreak, officials are not able to warn anyone about how to avoid it. Daily preventative measures such as washing your hands, cooking meats completely and not drinking raw milk are good ways to avoid the sickness.