The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) has identified a case of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) infection in a Waldoboro foodservice worker.
The employee handled deli food at Morse’s Sauerkraut in Waldoboro, ME, while infectious from April 1 through May 13. An assessment of the individual’s illness determined that patrons of Morse’s Sauerkraut may be at risk for STEC infection.
Customers who purchased deli items from Morse’s Sauerkraut between April 1 and May 13 should watch for symptoms of infection. Those experiencing symptoms should contact a health care provider to be tested.
Maine CDC recommends discarding food purchased at Morse’s Sauerkraut between April 1 and May 13 because of potential contamination.
Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) and Maine CDC are working with the business owner and local health care providers to minimize the risk of further exposures.
About E. coli infections
Anyone who has eaten any of the implicated products and developed symptoms of E. coli infection should seek medical attention and tell their doctor about their possible exposure to the bacteria. Specific tests are required to diagnose the infections, which can mimic other illnesses.
The symptoms of E. coli infections vary for each person but often include severe stomach cramps and diarrhea, which is often bloody. Some patients may also have a fever. Most patients recover within five to seven days. Others can develop severe or life-threatening symptoms and complications, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
About 5 to 10 percent of those diagnosed with E. coli infections develop a potentially life-threatening kidney failure complication, known as a hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Symptoms of HUS include fever, abdominal pain, feeling very tired, decreased frequency of urination, small unexplained bruises or bleeding, and pallor.
Many people with HUS recover within a few weeks, but some suffer permanent injuries or death. This condition can occur among people of any age but is most common in children younger than five years old because of their immature immune systems, older adults because of deteriorating immune systems, and people with compromised immune systems such as cancer patients.
People who experience HUS symptoms should immediately seek emergency medical care. People with HUS will likely be hospitalized because the condition can cause other serious and ongoing problems such as hypertension, chronic kidney disease, brain damage, and neurologic problems.
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