Health Officials Look for St. Louis Tie to Boone Co. E. Coli

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BOONE COUNTY - Disease specialists and public officials talked Thursday about an outbreak E. coli cases in Boone County.  There are currently three confirmed cases and two suspected ones.  So far, Boone County Public Heath and Human Services' spokesperson Geni Alexander said investigators have not been able to identify any connection between the cases.  Alexander said, "Our investigation is incredibly extensive, about 27 pages long, because of what is happening in St. Louis."

The first report of E. coli in Boone County surfaced on October 26, and the most recent occurred Wednesday afternoon.  Prior to October 26, Alexander said there had been seven cases total since 2008. "Five cases in one week is a concern," she said.  

Dr. Carlos Figueroa Castro is an infectious disease physician.  He said he was also concerned, and when asked if these E. coli cases were related to the ones in St. Louis, he said, "We're conducting a report now and cannot say for sure at this time."

Dr. Figueroa Castro said consuming uncooked meat is one way people can be infected with the harmful bacteria.   

Alexander said E. coli is transmitted by fecal oral contact, meaning people who don't wash their hands after handling waste are putting themselves at risk. 

Two of the people diagnosed with E. coli have required hospitalization, according to Alexander.