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Eight E. coli cases in Wisconsin county prompt investigation

Local health officials are investigating eight reports of E. coli infections in La Crosse County, WI, according to local media reports.

However, neither the city of La Crosse nor the La Crosse County government had any information about the cluster of illnesses on their websites as of Tuesday night.

Media in the area, which is on the western border of Wisconsin near the tri-state region where Minnesota and Iowa border the state, reported county health officials confirmed they are investigating the illnesses. The reports did not include possible sources for the bacteria, which can be foodborne.

The county’s health department education manager told WKBT-TV news that basic hygiene can greatly reduce the chance of spreading the bacteria.

“Good hand washing after using the bathroom, good hand washing after changing diapers, good hand washing before preparing food, and good hand washing after coming in from outside are all those hand hygiene things that we would recommend that people do,” Paula Silha told the local television news outlet.

Anyone in the La Crosse area who has symptoms of E. coli infection should seek medical attention.

Symptoms of E. coli infection usually begin two to eight days after exposure and can include diarrhea that is usually watery but sometimes bloody, abdominal cramps, fever, nausea and vomiting, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Most people infected with E. coli recover in a few days, but some require hospitalization because of dehydration. Others, especially children younger than five, sometimes develop the potentially fatal condition of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). It is marked by easy bruising, pallor, and decreased urine output, according to the CDC.

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