Most severe E. coli bacteria strain identified in West Mich.

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- Two West Michigan counties are among five in Michigan that say they have seen people getting sick from the most severe type of E. coli bacteria.

The Kent County Health Department has confirmed one person was hospitalized for the infection, but the patient is making a full recovery. Ottawa County is also investigating a case of the illness, and Thursday, the health department confirmed one patient was hospitalized there.

Wednesday, the Michigan Department of Community Health reported five confirmed cases of illness from E. coli O157. All of the cases were found in adults between the ages of 20 and 41 and all of them are linked to under-cooked ground beef served in different restaurants in different locations.

Besides Kent and Ottawa Counties, cases were found in Livingston, Oakland and Washtenaw counties. The USDA is now investigating the source of the suspected ground beef and how widely it was distributed.

The Centers for Disease Control reports the strain, E. coli O157, is the same bacteria responsible for a 2013 outbreak of illness linked to ready made salads. Four states were involved in that outbreak. In total, 33 people became sick and seven of them went to the hospital. All of them recovered.

The bacteria also caused an outbreak of illnesses in five states in 2012. The CDC reports 33 people became sick because of tainted organic spinach and spring mix blend products. No deaths were reported in the 2012 outbreak, but 13 people went to the hospital.

This strain of bacteria creates a toxin in your body which can cause severe disease including a type of kidney failure called Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome or HUS. The condition can be fatal if not treated early. Signs and symptoms of the condition include:

  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Pale skin tone
  • Fever
  • Blood in the Urine
  • Swelling

HUS can cause life-threatening complications including kidney failure, heart problems or stroke. Lab tests can identify the condition, but hospitalization is needed for treatment.


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