Eight cases of E. coli reported

All had attended Mesa County fair

Eight people suffering from E. coli all had an experience at the recent Mesa County Fair in common, health officials said.

Other than the common experience of having been at the fair, though, authorities have been unable to identify a specific area in which the patients had contact with the bacteria, Mesa County Health Department Director Jeff Kuhr said.

“There’s nothing systematic at all,” Kuhr said.

None of the patients were hospitalized, though officials were observing younger patients for worsening symptoms, Kuhr said. Two of the stricken people were children, but the others were “all over the map,” he said.

All the cases were confirmed in laboratory testing as E. coli.

Any continued threat from contacts at the fair is likely over because the incubation period for E. coli is 10 days and the fair ended 12 days ago, he said.

Authorities, however, are continuing to monitor for secondary infections that might be linked, for instance, to poor hand washing by friends or relatives of an infected person.

Health department officials were conducting additional tests at the fairgrounds and had distributed questionnaires to find more information about where the bacteria was contacted.

E. coli illnesses usually last for one to three days. Symptoms can include painful stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting.

Hand washing is one of the most effective methods of avoiding E. coli infections, especially before and after preparing food, changing diapers, using the bathroom or contact with animals and their environments.

People also should wash their hands before preparing bottles or foods for infants and toddlers and keep clean any objects, such as pacifiers, that go into children’s mouths.

If soap and water are unavailable for hand washing, the health department advises using sanitizers containing at least 60 percent alcohol.


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