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Marin County Has Five Confirmed E. Coli Cases, One Suspected

Health department officials in Marin County, CA, have confirmed five E. coli O157:H7 cases and a possible sixth. Four cases are children.

Of four patients hospitalized, two have been discharged. All six patients are stable and recovering or fully recovered, said Marin County Public Health Officer Dr. Matt Willis.

“We’re encouraged that we haven’t seen any new cases reported in the last 24 hours,” Willis told the Marin Independent Journal. “This is looking like a small outbreak.”

Inspections of places were the patients bought or ate food have not revealed any contaminated products or evidence for ongoing risk to the public. A regional and state labs are collaborating to perform DNA fingerprinting on the bacteria to help determine if people were infected with the same strain.

Health officials said the individuals developed symptoms between Sept. 11 and Sept. 15 and that the victims are residents of Tiburon, San Anselmo, Inverness and San Rafael. Marin averages about five cases of E coli O157 each year.

Infection-causing E. coli, commonly associated with undercooked hamburger, can be acquired from numerous raw foods and dairy products, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most people recover from the infection within a week, but some victims can die from E. coli if they develop a form of kidney failure known as “hemolytic uremic syndrome,” or HUS.

To limit the potential of getting an E. coli infection, practice good food hygiene practices such as washing hands with soap and water after changing diapers and using the bathroom and before preparing or eating food. Cook meats thoroughly and wash counters, cutting boards and utensils after they touch raw meat to avoid cross-contamination.

Symptoms of E. coli infection include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea, bloody diarrhea and vomiting. Anyone experiencing these symptoms is encouraged to visit their doctor.

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