In a follow-up on the E. coli outbreak in southern Utah, the Southwest Utah Public Health Department reports there have been no new confirmed cases linked to this outbreak since July 9, saying the outbreak is drawing to a close.
Health officials say the outbreak that sickened nearly a dozen and killing two in the Hildale/Colorado City area has been linked to infected animals.
Several livestock tested positive for the E. coli strain involved in this outbreak. Their owners have been contacted and given guidance to prevent further spread. Tests on water systems, springs, ground beef, produce, and dairy products were negative.
E. coli are common bacteria which can be spread to people when tiny pieces of feces enter the mouth through unwashed hands; contaminated soil, water, and food. Undercooked ground beef and unpasteurized dairy products are especially high risk. Infected animals and manure are also sources of infection. Most types of E. coli are harmless, but some strains are harmful to humans, such as the strain found in this outbreak (E. coli O157:H7).
Health officials continue to encourage following the practices listed below to help prevent infection from E. coli and other diseases:
- Keep sick animals separated from people and consider consulting a veterinarian
- Wash your hands with warm, soapy water
- After contact with animals or exposure to animal feces
- Before and after preparing or eating food
- After using the bathroom and changing diapers
- Before touching anything that enters an infant’s mouth
- Wash produce thoroughly
- Keep raw food separate from cooked food
- Carefully clean all surfaces and objects that have touched raw meat
- Cook meats thoroughly. Ground beef should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees (use a meat thermometer)
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