Posted: Jun 8, 2012 6:38 PM by Chris Welty
Updated: Jun 8, 2012 6:44 PM
Louisiana is one of the states where health officials are investigating a mysterious and scattered outbreak of E. Coli bacteria. One of those cases proved deadly in New Orleans where a two-year-old child died. The other states being investigated are Florida, Alabama and Georgia. "Most strains of E. Coli are harmless, but some strains can cause severe illness in humans," said Our Lady of Lourdes Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Vitalis Okechukwu.
E. Coli 0145 is an uncommon but dangerous strain of bacteria. Doctors say symptoms are uncomfortable. It's contracted by ingesting the bacteria or transmitting person to person. "Severe diarrhea, abdominal cramping, blood in the stool and some patients get acute damage to the kidneys," said Okechukwu. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it hasn't linked the outbreak to a particular food. Practicing good habits, like washing your hands thoroughly and cooking meat thoroughly can help prevent contracting the bacteria. "Many different outbreaks have been caused by different things and it's very difficult to have a definite preventive strategy without really getting to the bottom of what's causing it," said Okechukwu.
People became ill between April 15th and May 12th. Health officials are interviewing ill people to determine how they may have been exposed to the E. Coli strain.