A rare and potentially deadly disease has shown up in Kansas, and it may be linked to an ongoing E. coli outbreak.
The disease is called hemolytic uremic syndrome, or HUS, and so far, seven cases have been reported to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
Most cases of HUS are caused by Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O157:H7 (STECO157:H7) – and there happens to be a multi-state outbreak of that particular strain of E.coli occurring right now.
The toxins produced by this strain of E.coli can cause HUS by destroying red blood cells, causing kidney damage. It usually strikes children and the elderly, but there are some exceptions among the recent cases in Kansas. A 23-year-old college student was diagnosed in March, and doctors believe she got HUS from eating contaminated meat (another possibility is from a severe case of strep throat). A 20-year-old woman was diagnosed with the disease a few weeks ago, and she believes the source was a deli sandwich.
Dr. Radhika Mathur of HCA Midwest Health System told KCTV that it is a statistical anomaly to have so many cases in the area.
The CDC says the most likely source of the E.coli outbreak is the now-recalled 1.8 MILLION pounds of ground beef produced by Wolverine Packing Co. of Detroit, MI. That meat was distributed nationwide for retail and restaurant use. The names of outbreak-associated restaurants have not been released. Eleven cases of E.coli that are believed to be linked to the recalled meat have been reported in the following states: Massachusetts (1), Michigan (5), Missouri (1) and Ohio (4).
As of now, the CDC is not linking the 7 HUS cases in Kansas or the one in Georgia to the current E.coli outbreak.
But, would you have to eat contaminated meat to contract E.coli?
New research shows says no:
Two common disease-causing bacteria, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and a strain of E. coli, can linger on commonly touched surfaces in airplane cabins for up to a week, according to new research.
Researchers from Auburn University, who presented their data at the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, found that bacteria can survive the environmental conditions found inside a typical commercial airplane for days.
“Our data show that both of these bacteria can survive for days on the selected types of surfaces independent of the type of simulated body fluid present, and those pose a risk of transmission via skin contact,” post-doctoral fellow Kiril Vaglenov said in a statement.
The 20-year-old Kansas woman who contracted HUS traveled to Texas prior to developing symptoms, and became ill while she was there. Where she contracted E.coli has not been determined – was it in Kansas before her trip, or did she get it from a source in Texas – or, did she pick it up on an airplane?
Signs and symptoms of E.coli infection usually don’t appear until 2-8 days after exposure to the bacteria. Typical symptoms include abdominal cramping and bloody diarrhea.
Signs and symptoms of hemolytic uremic syndrome may include:
- Bloody diarrhea
- Abdominal pain
- Pale skin tone
- Fatigue and irritability
- Fever, usually not high and may not be present at all
- Small, unexplained bruises or bleeding from the nose and mouth
- Decreased urination or blood in the urine
- Swelling of the face, hands, feet or entire body
Sometimes neurological symptoms such as seizures develop as well.
To try to prevent infection with E.coli, the CDC recommends the following:
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Contributed by Lily Dane of The Daily Sheeple.
Lily Dane is a staff writer for The Daily Sheeple. Her goal is to help people to “Wake the Flock Up!”
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