19 Reported Cases Linked to the E. coli Outbreak in Philadelphia.
The mysterious E. coli outbreak in Philadelphia continues to grow in numbers. The Philadelphia Department of Public Health announced that as of September 6, 2019, they had received 19 reports of people affected by this outbreak.
The E. coli outbreak was first announced by the Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) on September 5th, 2019. When the outbreak was first announced the PDPH issued a health alert about a Shiga-toxin producing Escherichia coli (STEC) outbreak, etiology unknown. At the time the health alert was issued, PDPH had identified 16 victims of STEC O157, one of which was diagnosed with hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS).
James Garrow, a spokesperson for the PDPH, stated in an email “A total of 19 cases were identified in this cluster. The last report was received on Sept. 6, and our investigation into the source continues.” Health officials stated that the cluster may be related to shared exposure at restaurants, but at the moment no specific restaurant or restaurants have been announced as linked to the outbreak. As of the health risk announcement, the age range of those affected by the outbreak was 7 to 90, but the range may have changed.
E. coli are a diverse group of bacteria that normally live in the intestines of humans and animals. Although most strains of these bacteria are harmless, some produce toxins that can make you sick and cause diarrhea, such as Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC). E. coli O157: H7 is the most common strain of STEC, and though symptoms of STEC infections vary, they nearly always include severe diarrhea, stomach cramps, and vomiting. The diarrhea is often very bloody and usually little or no fever is present. Symptoms typically appear 2-4 days after eating a contaminated product but can range from onset in a few hours to about 10 days.
People who experience symptoms of E. coli are being urged to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Ron Simon, a national E. coli lawyer, stated “A series of events occurs between the time a patient is infected and the time public health officials can determine that the patient is part of an outbreak. This means that there will be a delay between the start of illness and confirmation that a patient is part of an outbreak. Due to this, it is anticipated the number of confirmed victims will continue to grow.”