OTTAWA COUNTY, Mich. — Health officials are warning Ottawa County residents of rising cases of E. coli induced by shiga-toxin (STEC).
The Ottawa County Department of Public Health (OCDPH) says they are tracking nine STEC cases, noting it is an unusually high number of infections compared to this time last year.
STEC is described as a pathogenic subcategory of E. coli that commonly arises from food-related outbreaks.
Symptoms include diarrhea (often bloody), severe cramps in the stomach area, mild fever and vomiting, according to OCDPH.
County health officials tell us they are working alongside the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) to determine if there are any links among those cases.
We’re told four of those nine cases resulted in hospitalizations.
Residents are advised to seek immediate treatment if they are experiencing bloody diarrhea lasting longer than three days, a fever exceeding 102 degrees, or are vomiting to the extent that liquids won’t stay down, resulting in minimal urination.
To prevent illness, OCDPH encourages frequent hand washing; rinsing fruits and vegetables with running water (unless the package states it is already washed); thoroughly cook meat products, avoid cross-contamination; refraining from consuming lake/pond/river/pool water, raw milk or unpasteurized drinks (e.g. fresh apple cider); and to stay home if you are unwell.