E. coli cells under a microscope
A significant increase in E. coli cases in Michigan prompted health officials to issue an advisory about food safety and the importance hand-washing.
So far this month, 98 cases of E. coli were reported in Oakland, Ottawa, and Kent counties, compared to 20 during the same time period last year, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDDHS).
“While reports of E. coli illness typically increase during the warmer summer months, this significant jump in cases is alarming,” Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, MDHHS chief medical executive, said in a statement. “This is a reminder to make sure to follow best practices when it comes to hand hygiene and food handling to prevent these kinds of foodborne illness. If you are experiencing symptoms of E. coli infection like cramping and diarrhea (or gastrointestinal distress), especially if they are severe, make sure to let your health care provider know.”
While the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and local health departments investigate, lab results indicate some of the cases are related.
E. coli infection symptoms typically show up three to four days after exposure, but can appear between one and 10 days. The symptoms, which vary from person to person, are often diarrhea, fever, severe stomach cramps, and vomiting.
Anyone experiencing symptoms of an E. coli infection should consult a health care provider.
To prevent an E. coli infection, MDDHS recommends:
• Washing hands with warm water and soil for at least 20 seconds.
• Marinating food in the refrigerator.
• Never placing cooked food on a plate that held raw meat or eggs.
• Never letting raw meat or eggs sit at room temperature for more than two hours.
• Cooking meats thoroughly.
• Rinsing fruits and vegetables well under running water.
• Avoiding raw milk, unpasteurized dairy products, and unpasteurized juices.
• Avoiding swallowing water when swimming in waterways or swimming pools.
For more information on E. coli, visit the USDA website
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