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State health department investigating E. coli outbreak

MADISON (WKOW) — At least 20 people in Wisconsin, including three children, have been infected with E. coli. with one person developing hemolytic uremic syndrome, a severe form of acute kidney failure.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services has been tracking the outbreak since Nov. 13, but the source remains a mystery.

“You can’t taste, smell, or see E coli.  Food that is tainted with E coli will taste, smell, and look just like healthy food.  That’s the scary thing about this outbreak.  As a consumer, sometimes there’s nothing you can do to tell whether the foods you buy are actually safe.  That’s why it’s critical that companies who make and sell our food ensure the food is safe before they sell it,” said national E coli food poisoning attorney Jory Lange in a news release.

An infectious disease doctor at the Mayo Clinic in Eau Claire, Dr. Larry Lutwick, has seen three cases of E coli recently.  Lutwick believes they may have come from contaminated lettuce, according to the Lange news release.

DHS is working with local public health departments to interview sick individuals to learn more about their activities, food and water sources, and foods and beverages they consumed before they became sick to identify any potential common source of infection, according to a DHS news release.

Symptoms vary but often include stomach cramps, diarrhea (often bloody), and vomiting.

DHS recommends people wash their hands before preparing or eating food and after using the bathroom or changing diapers.

Kevin Millard

Kevin Millard-Social Media Digital Content Manager for WXOW.

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