The Honolulu Advertiser reports that four E. coli cases were reported to the Hawai’i Health Department between Aug. 12 and 16.
Three of the cases involved O’ahu residents, while the fourth was a visitor who probably ingested the E. coli-containing food on O’ahu or the Big Island. State health director Dr. Chiyome Fukino said there was no common thread in the four cases, including the type of food eaten or where the food was purchased.
The state Department of Health is advising Hawai’i residents to thoroughly cook hamburgers, wash vegetables thoroughly and take other precautions to reduce the chance of getting sick from food that might contain a particular strain of E. coli bacterium.
Additional recommendations include:
• Wash hands before and after handling food. After handling raw hamburger, scrub under fingernails with antibacterial soap.
• Cook ground beef thoroughly. Interior temperatures should reach 160 degrees. If a thermometer is not available, avoid eating hamburger that is still pink inside.
• Wash countertops, utensils and especially cutting boards with hot, soapy water after they come in contact with raw meat.
• Never use the same platter used to carry raw hamburger patties or other raw meat to the stove or grill to carry the cooked meat back to the kitchen or serving area.
• Drink only pasteurized milk, juice or cider.
• Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly. Do not serve alfalfa sprouts to children younger than 5, to immuno-compromised people or to the elderly.
• People with diarrhea should wash hands carefully, and avoid swimming in public pools, sharing baths with others, and preparing food for others.