From: News Alert E-Memo (memofrom@Colorado.EDU)
Date: Wed Oct 01 2008 - 18:12:16 MDT
Date: Wed, 1 Oct 2008 18:12:16 -0600 (MDT) From: News Alert E-Memo <memofrom@Colorado.EDU> Subject: Public Health Officials Investigating E.coli Cases
TO: All CU-Boulder Students
FROM: Wardenburg Health Center
DATE: October 1, 2008
SUBJECT: Public Health Officials Investigating E.coli Cases
The CU community should be advised that Boulder County Public Health (BCPH) is
currently investigating a cluster of E. coli O157:H7 in the county. Since
September 23rd, BCPH has investigated eight related cases.
A cluster of seven cases includes CU students. Initial investigations indicate
that the source is off campus and on-campus dining is not related to the
source. BCPH staff is working closely with CU and the Colorado Department of
Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) to identify the source of the outbreak
and any additional cases among students and the public.
"Our number one priority is to protect the public's health by identifying the
source of this outbreak. Therefore, we are asking anyone who has had symptoms
of diarrhea, specifically bloody diarrhea, since September 20 to contact their
healthcare provider or BCPH," said Nisha Alden, BCPH epidemiologist.
E. coli infection is a diarrheal illness caused by several types of E coli
bacteria. It is spread most easily when people eat or drink food or water
contaminated with human or animal feces or from infected symptomatic
individuals. E. coli is not spread through the air by coughing or sneezing.
Symptoms of E. coli infection include sudden onset of watery diarrhea (often
bloody), abdominal cramping, and occasionally vomiting. About one-third of
affected people develop fevers. The disease is generally mild in adults, but
can be severe and debilitating in the very young and the elderly. Infections
with E.coli 0157:H7 generally last between 5 and 10 days. Any patient with
multiple episodes of watery and/or bloody diarrhea should be seen by their
health care providers.
E.coli 0157:H7 infections are generally not treated with antibiotics because
antibiotics can increase the risk of more severe symptoms, such as hemolytic
uremic syndrome (HUS) resulting in acute kidney failure.
"Hand washing is important, especially after using the bathroom," said Pamela
Talley, CU Wardenburg Health Center physician. "People with nausea, vomiting,
diarrhea or any other stomach ailment should drink plenty of water or other
liquids with electrolytes and should not prepare food for others."
In order to prevent, E. coli is also important to thoroughly cook meat and
poultry, wash utensils and work surfaces after contact with raw meat, wash
fruit and vegetables thoroughly and avoid unpasteurized juices and milk
If anyone has experienced these symptoms, or would like more information, they
should call their healthcare provider or the BCPH Communicable Disease Control
Program at 303-413-7500 during normal working hours.
To make an appointment with a Wardenburg health care provider, call
303-492-5432. A fact sheet is available on the Wardenburg Health Center website
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