What you need to know about E.coli
Mon, Nov 2, 2015
A recent outbreak of E. coli bacteria in Washington State and Oregon is raising questions about the infection including what exactly E. coli is, and how to protect against it.
The current bacterial outbreak has been linked to Chipotle restaurants across the two states. So far, 22 people between the ages of 11 and 64 have been sickened by the bacteria. Most of them ate at a Chipotle restaurant within the last couple of weeks.
There have been no deaths, although eight people have been hospitalized.
Health officials say they expect the number of reported sick to increase as more Chipotle patrons hear news of the outbreak and rush to see their physician.
“E. coli bacteria occur naturally within the intestines of people and animals,” said Dr. Lynn Wagner, an emergency medicine physician with BayCare Clinic. “For the most part, E. coli are harmless and are a healthy part of the intestinal tract, but in some cases they can cause illness. That’s reportedly what’s happening in Washington and Oregon.”
According to Wagner, symptoms of E. coli infection include:
- Severe stomach cramps
- Diarrhea (bloody)
- Occasional fever
“Fortunately most people start to feel better within about a week,” Wagner said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends thorough handwashing to defend against bacterial infection.