E. coli outbreak may be over | VailDaily.com

E. coli outbreak may be over

Steve Lynn
Val, CO Colorado

EAGLE COUNTY ” No new cases of e. coli have been reported since Friday, leading county health officials to believe that the outbreak is over.

Two suspected cases of e. coli were reported Friday, after five cases were confirmed in children 4 or younger, county health officials said.

Officials were investigating two child-care centers and the Eagle Pool as potential sources of the outbreak, said Jill Hunsaker, the county’s public health manager.

The names of the day-care centers were not released because officials no longer think the e. coli is a threat to public health, Hunsaker said.

“We’ll never know for sure where it originated,” Hunsaker said.

Meanwhile, one of the children has been hospitalized with a complication from the e. coli and is “seriously ill,” said Anne Robinson, the county’s public health coordinator.

“This child will be fine,” Robinson said.

Eight percent of people who get e. coli develop a rare syndrome that can cause permanent kidney damage and five to 15 percent of people who get it can die.

Health officials found no trace of the bacteria in the Eagle Pool’s water and the chlorine levels were good, Hunsaker said.

“They checked all of our records and they were very pleased,” said Steve Russell, director Western Eagle County Metropolitan Recreation District. “They couldn’t find anything.”

People generally become ill two to eight days after being exposed. E. coli causes bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps, though some people have no symptoms at all. The illness often goes away, but can cause the complication leading to kidney failure in children under 5 and the elderly.

People with bloody diarrhea or symptoms for more than 48 hours should see a doctor, Hunsaker said.

People with symptoms should not take anti-diarrheal medicines or antibiotics.

E. coli is a food- and water-borne illness and is spread through foods that are contaminated, recreational water sources such as swimming pools and between people, she said.

Human and animal feces can contain e.coli.

Washing your hands with soap and hot water can prevent the spread of e. coli.

Residents who have symptoms but do not have a doctor can call the Eagle County Public Health Service at 748-2005.

Staff Writer Steve Lynn can be reached at 748-2931 or slynn@vaildaily.com.

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