The Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Reservation announced earlier this week that the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) had confirmed several cases of food borne illness linked to E. coli, according to a their website.
The Pioneer Press reports at least 22 people have been sickened on the reservation. The strain is believed to be E. coli 0157.
Health department spokesman Doug Schultz said, although they have yet to pinpoint a cause of the contamination, the Fond du Lac Reservation’s assumption that its spate of outdoor gatherings — including powwows, an elder picnic and outdoor meetings — contributed to the outbreak was a fair one.
E. coli O157:H7 is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause bloody diarrhea, dehydration, and in the most severe cases, kidney failure. The very young, seniors and persons with weak immune systems are the most susceptible to foodborne illness.
The symptoms of E. coli O157:H7 infections vary for each person but often include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea (often bloody), and vomiting. If there is fever, it usually is not very high (less than 101˚F/less than 38.5˚C). Most people get better within 5–7 days. Some infections are very mild, but others are severe or even life-threatening.
Around 5–10% of those who are diagnosed with STEC infection develop a potentially life-threateningcomplication known as hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).
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