For those planning a trip to Florida this spring, they might want to think about packing a few extra items – like hand sanitizer.
The Indiana State Department of Health is cautioning residents planning trips to the Sunshine State about a recent outbreak of a potentially dangerous, deadly strain of E. coli that has made at least 22 people ill in Florida due to visits to fairs.
Because many families and college students head to Florida this time of year, “we’re just trying to be more proactive,” said Andy Zirkle, risk communication director for the Indiana Department of Health. Officials caution Hoosiers who may have visited these events during recent travels to be on the lookout for symptoms of bloody diarrhea and stomach cramping – signs of E. coli infection.
If symptoms develop, residents should immediately contact their health-care provider. The most serious cases of this strain of E. coli, a bacteria, cause kidney failure. Young children and the elderly are at the highest risk of complications, particularly hemolytic uremic syndrome, which causes the kidneys to suddenly shut down.
In addition, nearly 10 percent of individuals who become infected with this strain — E. coli 0157:H7 — develop hemolytic uremic syndrome, a condition that can shut down kidneys and cause permanent kidney damage. The symptoms of HUS may not develop until several weeks after gastrointestinal symptoms are present.