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Marine Corps searches for E. coli source in San Diego outbreak

Hundreds of Marine Corps recruits in California are sick in an E. coli outbreak  as military investigators search for the specific source of the bacterial pathogen.

More than 300 recruits had been sickened as of Tuesday, according to a statement from Brig. Gen. William Jurney, commanding general of the Marine Corps Recruitment Depot in San Diego and the Western Recruiting Region. Training continues as scheduled for the remainder of the more than 5,500 recruits.

Marine Corps file photo of recruits at the San Diego Recruitment Depot.

“We are working to identify the cause of the sickness, making sure our affected recruits can return to training as soon as possible and continuing training for recruits not influenced,” the general said.

The victim count includes people at the Marine Corps training facilities at Edson Range at Camp Pendleton.

“Limited cases were reported in the previous six days with a spike in cases reported yesterday,” according to the Tuesday statement. “Ten recruits have been admitted to an off-base medical facility while the remainder are being cared for aboard the base.

“Family members will be contacted by the command if a recruit’s graduation date changes due to missed training resulting from sickness.”

Preventative actions underway include:

  • Separation and treatment protocols to isolate recruits presenting symptoms and limit interaction with unaffected recruits;
  • Increased hygiene requirements focusing on handwashing;
  • Enhanced facilities cleaning to ensure proper sanitation and hygiene in all areas;
  • Increased inspections of barracks, chow halls and common areas by Navy Medical Center San Diego’s Preventative Medicine Unit; and
  • Dissemination of guidance on identifying possible symptoms to proactively seek treatment for potential cases.

The Marine Corps suggests family members and the public watch the Corps Twitter feed for updates: twitter.com/mcrd_sd

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