Press Release: Community Message No. 4 on E. Coli Outbreak

Update (7-28-17, 1pm): The investigation of the E. coli outbreak in the Hildale/Colorado
City area is drawing to a close. It has been determined that the likely source of the
disease was infected animals, followed by person-to-person contact. Several livestock
tested positive for the E. coli strain involved in this outbreak. Their owners have been
contacted and given guidance to prevent further spread. Tests on water systems,
springs, ground beef, produce, and dairy products were negative.

There have been no new confirmed cases linked to this outbreak since July 9th, although
public health agencies will continue to monitor disease activity in the community.

Disease outbreaks are unpredictable and can occur in any community. This effort has
involved the Southwest Utah Public Health Department, Mohave County Department of
Public Health, Utah Department of Health, Arizona Department of Health Services, and
the CDC. Hundreds of samples were tested and many people were interviewed.
We appreciate the cooperation of the people of Hildale, Colorado City, and Centennial
Park with the investigation and their efforts to protect against future outbreaks.

As a reminder, E. coli are common bacteria which can be spread to people when tiny
pieces of feces enter the mouth through unwashed hands; contaminated soil, water,
and food. Undercooked ground beef and unpasteurized dairy products are especially
high risk. Infected animals and manure are also sources of infection. Most types of E.
coli are harmless, but some strains are harmful to humans, such as the strain found in
this outbreak (E. coli O157:H7).

Health officials continue to encourage following the practices listed below to help
prevent infection from E. coli and other diseases:
• Keep sick animals separated from people and consider consulting a veterinarian
• Wash your hands with warm, soapy water
o After contact with animals or exposure to animal feces
o Before and after preparing or eating food
o After using the bathroom and changing diapers
o Before touching anything that enters an infant’s mouth
• Wash produce thoroughly
• Keep raw food separate from cooked food
• Carefully clean all surfaces and objects that have touched raw meat
• Cook meats thoroughly. Ground beef should be cooked to an internal
temperature of 160 degrees (use a meat thermometer)

For more information about E. coli and preventing infection, visit:
cdc.gov/ecoli/general
swuhealth.org/ecoli/

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Press Release: Community Message No. 3 on E.coli Outbreak

Update (7-14-17, 4:30pm): Investigation of the E. coli outbreak continues with the combined efforts of the Southwest Utah Public Health Department, Mohave County Department of Health, Utah Department of Health, and the Arizona Department of Health Services. These agencies have also been joined by representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

  • Confirmed case count remains at 11.
  • The source of this outbreak has not been identified.
  • Because coli can be passed from several different sources, including person to person, it is always important to follow these practices to prevent infection:
    • Wash hands with warm, soapy water before and after preparing or eating food, after using the bathroom and changing diapers, after contact with animals or environments with exposure to animal feces, and before touching anything that enters an infant’s mouth.
    • Don’t allow raw food to touch cooked food. Carefully clean all surfaces and objects that have touched raw meat.
    • Cook meats thoroughly. Ground beef should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees. Use a meat thermometer.
    • Avoid raw (unpasteurized) milk, dairy products, and juices.
    • Don’t swallow water when swimming.

Visit www.swuhealth.org/ecoli for more information.

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Press Release: Community Message on E.coli Outbreak

The Southwest Utah Public Health Department is working closely with the Mohave County Department of Public Health in an ongoing investigation of the E.coli outbreak that was recently detected in the Hildale/Colorado City community. This outbreak includes a strain of E.coli bacteria that can lead to serious illness. While the source of this outbreak has not yet been identified and details about individual cases are not being released, health department officials want to inform the community about the following:

• All water samples tested so far have shown to be safe for use, including city water systems.

• Handle raw meat carefully: keep it separate from other foods and store it in sealed packaging on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator. Wash hands, utensils, and surfaces that have contacted raw meat and do not set cooked meat back onto a possibly contaminated surface. Cook ground meat, poultry, and leftovers to 165° degrees, and whole meat to 145°.

• Refrigerate all food that could spoil. Food should be refrigerated at 40° degrees or lower within two hours of being left out and one hour or less if left out in heat 90° degrees or higher.

• Continue to practice thorough hand washing after contact with raw meat or animals, after changing diapers and using the restroom, and before and after preparing food. E.coli can be transferred when tiny particles of feces enter the mouth from contaminated hands, food, water, and unpasteurized dairy/juice products. People who experience symptoms of E.coli; including stomach cramps, mild fever, nausea, vomiting,, and diarrhea (often bloody), should seek medical care.

For more information, visit www.swuhealth.org/ecoli

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