Inmates at Jefferson County jail sickened by contaminated food |

Inmates at Jefferson County jail sickened by contaminated food

Daily Staff Report

GOLDEN – A food-borne illness caused by E. coli is behind an outbreak of illness among dozens of inmates at the Jefferson County jail, sheriff’s officials said Wednesday.About 70 inmates have reported symptoms including severe abdominal cramping, diarrhea, vomiting and a low-grade fever. An investigation began Friday, and 37 inmates were still ill and one was hospitalized Wednesday, sheriff’s officials said.The illnesses were blamed on Shiga toxin-producing E. coli. County health officials were awaiting further test results to determine the exact strain of the bacteria, said Mark Johnson, head of the county health department.Health officials were trying to determine what food might have been contaminated and how.The bacteria can be spread by unwashed hands or contact with fecal material.Historically, outbreaks have been tied to eating undercooked ground beef, raw milk, unpasteurized apple juice, contaminated water, red leaf lettuce, alfalfa sprouts and venison jerky, though the bacteria have also been associated with poultry, pork and lamb.Those infected typically can recover without complications.

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