The virulent strain of E. Coli has been found in Brazos County. Two young children are in a Houston hospital and three adults were hospitalized and released. Three other cases are under investigation. The Texas State Health Department is investigating but can't say if the E. Coli came from food, water, vegetables or fruits.
E. Coli can be serious, especially for the very young and the very old.
"It's like a normal E. Coli that lives in our intestine that's infected by a virus that makes the E. Coli produce a toxin that damages the lining of the intestine," said Dr. Herbert DuPont with UTHealth, St. Luke's Hospital.
And that E. Coli toxin has sent two young brothers from College Station to Texas Children's Hospital. The boys, under age 5, have kidney damage from this strain of E. Coli., but their conditions have been upgraded from critical to fair.
"If it's a young healthy adult they do very well with this," Dr. DuPont told us. "I would say a majority occur, 100 percent; it's the small percent that have big trouble."
This strain of E. Coli comes from the intestines of cattle, so it can be spread in undercooked meat. And by fruits and vegetables from cross contamination on farms.
"If you're worried look for bloody diarrhea. If it's watery and you're not very sick, don't worry about it. But if you start having bloody diarrhea, you need medical attention," said Dr. DuPont.
He says be sure to wipe your hands, and bathe and shower.
The Brazos County Health Department recommends that any person who has signs or symptoms of STEC infection seek medical care. Symptoms include severe stomach cramps, watery diarrhea (which is often bloody), and vomiting. Most people get better within 5-7 days, but children under 5 and people over 65 are at risk of further complications.
For more information about E. coli, visit a href="http://www.cdc.gov/features/ecoliinfection/">CDC.gov/features/ecoliinfection.
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