By Jory Lange

An E coli outbreak in Kentucky may be growing.  Six people have been hospitalized and 20 Kentuckians tested positive for E coli O103.  Many of those affected by this E coli outbreak live in central Kentucky.

Image/Robert Herriman
Image/Robert Herriman

“Exposure to E. coli bacteria can be debilitating and potentially life-threatening, especially for small children and individuals with weakened immune systems.  With this in mind, the Department for Public Health has taken swift action to identify patients, ensure appropriate testing, and follow-up care as we work to determine the source of the outbreak,” says Dr. Jeff Howard.

Kentucky’s Department for Public Health encourages “all Kentuckians to be aware of the signs and symptoms of E. coli illness and to seek care if they are ill.”

Typical symptoms of E. coli infection can include:

  • Diarrhea, including bloody diarrhea
  • Stomach cramps

Symptoms often begin within 2 to 5 days after eating food contaminated with E. coli.

The Courier Journal reports that, “State officials said health care providers across Kentucky have been notified of the outbreak and are advised to be alert for patients experiencing serious bouts of diarrhea, which could be associated with E. coli. The strain of E. coli involved (O103) produces a type of toxin (Shiga toxin) that can be dangerous for those infected.”