Cape County health center warns about E. coli

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Cape Girardeau County Public Health Center is asking health care providers to be on the lookout for potential E. coli cases after 10 possible cases have popped up in Southeast Missouri.

The center said in a news release Tuesday that 10 possible cases of a strain of the bacteria have been identified by the health center and Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services in four different Southeast Missouri counties, from Pemiscot in the south to Perry in the north. Seven cases -- two confirmed and five suspected -- have been identified in Cape Girardeau County, according to health center figures. One case each was confirmed in Pemiscot, Perry and Stoddard counties.

Four of the cases came from the same source, and the health center said it's working to identify the source. The cases have hit people ages 16 months to 72 years old and the gender split is about equal.

The health center is asking providers to consider E. coli infection, which causes diarrhea and other symptoms, when treating patients for ailments. Suspect or confirmed cases should be reported to the health center at 335-7846.

Public health nurse Jane Wernsman said the investigation into the cases is still very early on, and health authorities are still trying to identify the source of the illness, and which of the cases are connected. In the most recent case, symptoms were reported Friday,

Wernsman said, but no new cases have been reported since.

msanders@semissourian.com

388-3652

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