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Friday, 3 June 2011

"E-Coli Outbreak - No Island Cases Yet"

Shoppers are being reassured that salad is safe to eat in the Channel Islands following the outbreak of E-Coli in Europe, which has been called the deadliest outbreak on record.

The mutant strain of the bug, which is centred in Germany, has killed 18 people and caused 1,500 to fall ill across Europe - with some cases in the UK.

In the Channel Islands, health organisations have confirmed that no one has yet fallen ill here from the never-before-seen strain of E-Coli.

However, islanders are being urged to follow the advice of the World Health Organisation to always wash fruit and vegetables, even if they were bought pre-washed, and to always wash hands before handling food.

Cooking food to 70 degrees Celsius or above kills the bacteria.

E-Coli bacteria is actually naturally found in the intestines of humans and animals, however it can morph into different strains, which are deadly. This outbreak is said to have originated from an unknown strain, although experts have been unable as yet to discover its source. It was orginally linked to Spanish cucumbers, but this has since been refuted.

Often E-Coli infections are caused by infected meat, which can cross-contaminate other foods with which it comes into contact - like salad.

What Are E-Coli Symptoms?
The main symptoms are abdominal pain and diarrhoea - it rarely causes vomiting, though the affected person may feel very sick.

The diarrhoea is severe and becomes watery and can be speckled with fresh blood after about a day. It is rare for the body temperature to rise significantly. Unlike other forms of food poisoning, E-Coli is very persistent and it takes about a week or even longer for the diarrhoea to subside, even in cases without the complications of kidney damage.

How does E-Coli affect you?
E-Coli affects the digestive system and is haemorrhagic - meaning that it causes internal bleeding. In severe cases of E-Coli food poisoning, the infection causes the affected persons intestines to bleed. About 10% of people who get E-Coli food poisoning also go on to develop kidney damage as a result of their infection. Very young children and elderly adults are most at risk.

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