IDPH reports E. coli in St. Clair Co., offers tips to reduce exposure | Health
(KFVS) - The Illinois Department of Public Health, along with local health departments in Illinois, say they are investigating a case of shiga toxin producing Escherichia coli or E. coli STEC bacteria illness reported in St. Clair County.
The IDPH says further investigation and lab testing will let authorities determine if this case is linked to those in St. Louis, Mo. They say public health authorities in Illinois will investigate any newly reported cases of STEC to determine if they may be linked to this outbreak.
According to IDPH, public health authorities are investigating to determine the source of the outbreak, but at this time, no specific source has been identified.
E. coli is a large and diverse group of bacteria. IDPH says although most strains of E. coli are harmless, some can make you sick. They say E. coli is spread most often through the consumption of contaminated food, drinking unpasteurized milk, drinking water that has not been disinfected, contact will cattle or contact with the feces of infected people.
Three steps the IDPH says people can take to reduce the risk of exposure to E. coli include:
- Wash your hands thoroughly after using the bathroom or changing diapers and before preparing or eating food
- Cook meats thoroughly. Ground beef and meat that has been needle-tenderized should be cooked to a temperature of at least 160 degrees F or 70 degrees C.
- Prevent cross contamination in food preparation areas by thoroughly washing hands, counters, cutting boards and utensils after they touch raw meat
For more information on E. coli, you can visit the IDPH online.
Copyright 2011 KFVS. All rights reserved.