Severe E. Coli bacteria illness identified in West Mich.

Ottawa and Kent counties are among five in Michigan that say they have seen people getting sick from the most severe type of E. coli bacteria.
AP Wire
May 14, 2014

The Kent County Health Department has confirmed one person was hospitalized for the infection, but the patient is making a full recovery. Ottawa County is also investigating a case of the illness, but they have not yet confirmed whether a patient was hospitalized there.

The Michigan Department of Community Health on Wednesday reported five confirmed cases of illness from E. coli O157 in the state. Cases were also found in Livingston, Oakland and Washtenaw counties.

All of the cases were found in adults between the ages of 20 and 41, and all of them are linked to under-cooked ground beef served in different restaurants in different locations. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says it is investigating the source of the suspected ground beef and how widely it was distributed.

The Centers for Disease Control reports the strain, E. coli O157, is the same bacteria responsible for a 2013 outbreak of illnesses linked to ready-made salads. Four states were involved in that outbreak. In total, 33 people became sick and seven of them went to the hospital; all of them recovered.

The bacteria also caused an outbreak of illnesses in five states in 2012. The CDC reports 33 people became sick because of tainted organic spinach and spring mix blend products. No deaths were reported in the 2012 outbreak, but 13 people went to the hospital.

This strain of bacteria creates a toxin in your body that can cause severe disease, including a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome, or HUS. The condition can be fatal if not treated early.

Signs and symptoms of the condition include: bloody diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, pale skin tone, fever, blood in the urine and swelling.

HUS can cause life-threatening complications including kidney failure, heart problems or stroke. Lab tests can identify the condition, but hospitalization is needed for treatment.

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