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Health experts see slight uptick in strain of E. coli across Treasure Valley

September 26, 2018 3:42 pm | Published by

Nampa — Southwest District Health has identified a significant increase in the number of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli infections.

But don’t be too alarmed.

Health experts told KTVB, this isn’t something anyone needs to be extremely alarmed about, but they do want the public to be aware of the possible dangers associated with it, including the difficulty in treating the infection, which is resistant to antibiotics.

The infection can be spread from sharing toys, or even changing a diaper.

“It can also cause damage to parts of the body. So, blood vessels can be affected, kidneys can ultimately be affected, in addition to the diarrhea that is usually part of the illness,”

Dr. Preston Omer of Saltzer Medical Group in Nampa said.

Shiga toxin-producing E. coli is a certain type of bacteria of E. coli strains.

“It’s important to know this is a serious illness. It’s not super common, but it can have complications,”

Dr. Omer said.

“If there are kids having diarrhea with bloody stools or diarrhea with a high fever, then we need to check them out and decide on testing and that way we can identify the cases and hopefully prevent the spread on other kids and adults”

Children ages 5 and younger, as well as seniors, are at an increased risk of severe illnesses resulting from STEC infections, according to a Southwest District Health alert.

Shiga toxin-producing E. coli infections are not treated by antibiotics, but doctors often treat the complications of the illness with IV fluids, Dr. Omer said.

Within the last few months, the Saltzer Medical Group has seen a slight uptick in these cases, but it’s not a huge number.

Southwest District Health told KTVB that good hygienic practices such as hand washing after using the bathroom or changing a diaper and even handling meat, are important to keep the bacteria from spreading.

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This post was written by Salzter Medical Group