The McHenry County Department of Health (MCDH) and Huntley Community School District 158 are working collaboratively to respond to a recent outbreak of Shiga Toxin-Producing E. coli (STEC) at Huntley High School. There are currently seven confirmed cases of STEC, all of which involve students. The first case was identified on Sunday, September 17. At this time, there is insufficient evidence to indicate the source of the illness. The MCDH is actively monitoring for potential cases; there are no other known McHenry County STEC cases outside of this outbreak.
In a letter to parents, students, and staff, Huntley Community School District 158 officials reiterated that the situation is being taken seriously and that the safety and well-being of students and staff is of the utmost importance.
Huntley High School officials are fully cooperating with the MCDH as they continue their investigation into potential exposures, both internally and externally, as the source of the outbreak has not yet been identified.
Given the highly contagious nature of E. coli, students are strongly encouraged to practice frequent handwashing. In addition to this, Huntley High School science teachers have been providing students with essential information about E. coli. Furthermore, the school has taken proactive measures to ensure a safe environment, including the posting of handwashing signage throughout the school and the provision of readily accessible hand sanitizer stations in all classrooms and common areas.
STEC is a bacterial infection known to cause gastrointestinal illness in humans. This strain of E. coli bacteria grows and lives in the intestines of people and animals. Transmission of STEC can occur due to contact with contaminated food, contaminated water, people, and animals. Symptoms and characteristics of STEC include:
- Diarrhea (often bloody)
- Abdominal cramping and body aches
Symptoms typically start within 3-4 days of exposure to STEC but may take up to 10 days to develop. Most individuals infected with STEC feel better within 5-10 days from the onset of the illness with rest fluids.
To prevent and stop the spread of infection, the MCDH recommends washing hands with soap and water when preparing and eating food, having contact with animals or their environment, and after bathroom use or changing a diaper; avoiding swallowing water from ponds, lakes, and untreated swimming pools; and washing and cooking foods properly and avoid unpasteurized (raw) dairy products and juices. Those infected should not handle, prepare, or cook food for others until 48 hours after symptoms have resolved.
E. coli: Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of E. coli outbreaks and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). The E. coli lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of E. coli and other foodborne illness infections and have recovered over $850 million for clients. Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation. Our E. coli lawyers have litigated E. coli and HUS cases stemming from outbreaks traced to ground beef, raw milk, lettuce, spinach, sprouts, and other food products. The law firm has brought E. coli lawsuits against such companies as Jack in the Box, Dole, ConAgra, Cargill, and Jimmy John’s. We have proudly represented such victims as Brianne Kiner, Stephanie Smith and Linda Rivera.
If you or a family member became ill with an E. coli infection or HUS after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark E. coli attorneys for a free case evaluation.
- About E. coli – a complete online resource with information on symptoms and risks of E. coli infection
- About hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) – a complete online resource with information about acute kidney failure
- Marler Clark E. coli Lawsuits and Litigation
- A downloadable Family Health Guide
Republished with permission from Bill Marler and Marler Clark. Copyright (c) Marler Clark LLP, PS. All rights reserved.
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