At least 19 people in Kentucky are part of an E. coli outbreak linked to fast food, according to an alert issued by state health officials. Most of the cases have been reported from Central Kentucky, but other counties have also reported illnesses according to LEX18 news.
Symptoms of an E. coli infection include abdominal cramping and diarrhea that can be bloody. These symptoms, which usually develop within three days of eating food contaminated with E. coli., are sometimes accompanied by nausea, vomiting and fever.
It is important to note that over-the-counter anti-diarrheal medicines should never be used to treat E. coli symptoms as their use can increase the risk of serious complications.
The E. coli strain associated with this outbreak, E. coli O103, produces shiga toxins which cause serious illness. Teenagers and young children with shiga-toxin-producing E. coli infections are at risk of developing a serious complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) which can lead to kidney failure.
Health officials have confirmed that children and teenagers are part of this outbreak but adults of various ages have also been sickened. The name or names of the fast food restaurants have not been released. Nor has any information on what kind of food is the likely source of the outbreak.
The exposures to the contaminated food occurred between March 5 and March 25, 2019. Health officials urge anyone with symptoms of an E. coli infection to see a doctor.
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