E. coli cases in Green County connected to previous strain - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

E. coli cases in Green County connected to previous deadly strain

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GREEN COUNTY (WKOW) -- State health officials have linked cases of E. coli at a Monroe school with a deadly outbreak of the bacteria in the county.

The Green County Health Department says there have been two confirmed cases at Abe Lincoln Elementary. The department is now investigating a possible third case. All are students.

Health officials said Friday this is the same E. coli strain, E. coli O157, that sickened nine people in August and early September, including one child that died.

Officials are asking parents to perform stool test on all pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students at the school. Free stool kits are available at Abe Lincoln.

Investigators are still trying to determine the source of the bacteria.

E. coli O157 is a bacterium that infects the intestinal tract and may produce a toxin that affects other parts of the body. 

Symptoms include diarrhea, which often is bloody, and severe abdominal cramps and will typically appear 3-4 days following exposure to the bacteria. Some people may become infected but do not have symptoms.

In children infected with E.coli O157, about one third will carry and shed the bacteria in their bowel movements for up to several weeks after symptoms resolve. 

The Green County Health Department recommends the following:

  • Keep your child home from school/daycare if they are ill.
  • Teach and supervise your child for good hand washing.  Make sure they are using soap and warm water when washing their hands.  Children and adults should always wash their hands before they eat and after using the bathroom.
  • Watch your child for gastrointestinal symptoms over the next few weeks.  If your child or someone else in your household develops diarrhea that contains blood or mucous, or is watery or less formed with greater occurrence than usual, contact your health care provider. Explain to your health care provider that there have been cases of E. coli O157 identified at Abe Lincoln Elementary School and in Green County and that your child may have been exposed.
  • Clean and sanitize your home to prevent the spread of disease.

For more information on cleaning/sanitizing and food safety please visit http://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/communicable/FoodSafety/index.htm

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