Posted: Jun 8, 2012 2:22 PM
Updated: Jun 8, 2012 2:22 PM
BATON ROUGE - The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) has identified a fourth case in the E. coli outbreak in Louisiana.
The E. coli outbreak recently claimed the life of a child and has now sickened three adults in the Greater New Orleans area.
The four Louisiana cases are E. coli O145, which produces an aggressive toxin and has been linked through DNA fingerprinting to cases in other states.
The Louisiana cases occurred in late April and early May 2012.
DHH epidemiologists suspect food may be to blame for the outbreak and are working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to identify the exact source.
"Most people infected with this strain of E. coli will experience some form of gastrointestinal illness with diarrhea," said Dr. Raoult Ratard, Louisiana state epidemiologist.
"People more seriously affected by the disease may have blood in their stool, fever and become extremely fatigued.
If you suspect you are infected, see your doctor immediately," said Dr. Ratard.
A person may become infected with E. coli by ingesting the bacteria.
This usually occurs when an individual eats food contaminated with E. coli, but can also be transmitted person-to-person.
Nearly a dozen other people in several other states have recently been diagnosed with E-Coli.