Yesterday the Union Democrat reported that the discovery of five cases of E. coli in children ranging from 8 months to 17 years has kept the Calaveras County Public Health Department very busy this month.
From the article:
For each child infected with the bacteria, communicable disease control nurse Jane Loeffler has conducted contact investigations. She’s spoken with the infected children or their parents to determine where they’ve been, what they’ve eaten and who they’ve been around. She’s looked into anything that could lead to a source of infection.
“We have a big binder in the health department. It’s called ‘big blue,'” said Public Health Officer Dr. Dean Kelaita, who has held that position since 2000. “In this, we have protocols on how to approach all of these diseases we might encounter.”
The first and most important step is to find out if there’s a common link, such as one place to which each infected child went to or a certain food each ate.
“If it’s a food-borne outbreak or illness (such as E. coli) … if there’s a source in the community that the person had gotten that from — that would mean other people are at risk, too,” said Kelaita.
So far, no common community source has been discovered and it’s unknown if the bacteria found in three young Angels Camp children in early May is related to that discovered in two Murphys teens Monday.