4 Cases of E. coli confirmed in Boone County

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COLUMBIA- As of Wednesday evening, the Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services has confirmed four cases of E. coli, and two probable cases in Boone County preschool and school-aged children.

Public Health officials are reviewing laboratory analyses and conducting case interviews to determine the possible cause(s) of the outbreak. Currently, the source of the infection has not yet been determined.

E. coli, a bacterial infection found within the intestines, are usually harmless. Several strains are known to produce toxins that can cause mild diarrhea with most confirmed cases developing severe diarrhea and abdominal cramps. Blood is often seen in the stool. Usually little or no fever is present.

“The strains of E. coli that cause toxins have been found in the four cases that have been confirmed,” Public Information Officer, Andrea Waner said.

In order to prevent the risk of catching or spreading E. coli, residents are encouraged to wash all produce thoroughly with water before eating, cook meat thoroughly, and wash their hands after using the restroom, helping to clean others, or changing diapers. Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “If soap and water aren't available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. These alcohol-based products can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in some situations, but they are not a substitute for washing with soap and running water.”

As of now, the Department of Public Health and Human Services will not provide any specific information regarding the ill persons or the facilities involved, per the Missouri Code of State Regulations.