The New Jersey Department of Health announced they are in the preliminary stages of an investigation into eight cases of E. coli in four counties [Somerset (2), Hunterdon (4), Middlesex (1)and Warren (1)].

E. coli/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
E. coli/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

The Department is investigating a possible association with a chain restaurant, but the association may be broader than a single chain restaurant.

Laboratory testing is pending.

To date, eight people have been hospitalized and five of those individuals have been discharged.

While those who are infected with E. Coli usually get better by themselves within about 5 to 7 days, some illnesses can be serious or even life-threatening. We encourage people to contact their health care provider if they have diarrhea that lasts for more than 3 days or is accompanied by high fever, blood in the stool, or so much vomiting that they cannot keep liquids down and they pass very little urine.

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In addition, about 5 to 10% of people who are diagnosed with Shiga toxin-producing E. coli infection develop a potentially life-threatening complication known as hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). HUS develops about 7 days after symptoms first appear, when diarrhea is improving. Clues that someone is developing HUS include decreased frequency of urination, feeling very tired, and losing pink color in cheeks and inside the lower eyelids. Any who develop these symptoms should seek out medical care.