Multiple local media outlets in the Medford, OR, area are reporting that Jackson County is dealing with an E. coli outbreak.

Fifteen people across Jackson County have been infected with E. coli, according to reports. Ten people have been so sick that they have been admitted to hospitals.

Jackson County Public Health officials told NewsWatch 12 that the hospitalizations include several children.

A spokesperson told  Food Safety News this afternoon that the outbreak is on the agenda for a meeting tonight and there could be information available tomorrow.

“A couple of children are at OHSU are receiving emergency treatment,” Dr. Jim Shames told the news channel. “We need citizens to be aware that serious diarrhea or bloody diarrhea should be reported to their health care provider.”

Jackson County Public Health investigators are trying to determine the source of the E.coli outbreak, which is often foodborne. Officials have told numerous news outlets that they believe the outbreak to be localized in the county.

About E. coli infections
Anyone who has 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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