KHON-TV reports that state health officials are investigating a recent outbreak of E. Coli infections on Oahu. They say the strain of bacteria responsible is less common and more dangerous.
Although the four cases on Oahu started at around the same time, health officials say they have not found a common link to help them find a source of the infection.
“It’s not like they were all at the same party and came down with this illness. They appear to be unrelated, and so that makes tracking the source a lot more difficult,” says Dr. Chiyome Fukino, State Health Department director.
While 73,000 cases are reported in the U.S. each year with E. coli O157:H7, Dr. Fukino says it’s not commonly found in Hawaii. The bacterium also produces powerful toxins that can cause bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps. Anyone who experiences these symptoms should see a doctor. In severe cases, the infection can be fatal.
Dr. Fukino points out that in most cases, those infected can recover in five to 10 days. But young children, the elderly, and those with a weakened immune system can suffer severe symptoms. Here are suggestions to avoid E. Coli infections:
• cook hamburgers well done;
• keep raw meat separate from ready-to-eat foods;
• drink only pasteurized milk, juice or cider;
• wash hands thoroughly after handling raw meat.