Local and state health officials are investigating an outbreak of E. coli 0157. The Dawson County Health Department has received reports of several ill people, including some hospitalizations after attending the Richey Centennial Event and Class Reunion in Richey on July 15-17, according to a press release from the Dawson County Health Department.
While the exact cause of the outbreak hasn’t been pinpointed, local health officials are interviewing persons who attended one or more of the days to obtain information about foods they might have eaten and other exposures in the week before their illness started. E. coli has a history of causing watery or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramps, with or without fever.
People who become ill usually get sick within two to eight days after ingesting the bacteria. Most people recover within a week, but sometimes the illness develops into a more severe form that will likely require hospitalization.
To limit the spread of E. coli practice good hand hygiene, washing your hands thoroughly after using the bathroom, changing diapers and before preparing or eating food. Persons who are symptomatic should refrain from food handling and caring for at risk populations. The CDC recommends abstaining from these activities for seven days after symptoms have subsided.
The Dawson County Health Department is asking for your help. Health department officials are asking anyone who attended events during the Richey Centennial and have had any of the following symptoms: watery or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramps or fever to fill out a questionnaire.
There will be a link to an online survey available at www.dawsoncountymontana.org or you can contact the health department at 377-5213.
In conjunction with the ongoing investigation, the Dawson County Health Department has learned that some of the food served during the weekend may have been taken home as leftovers.
Anyone with any of this food in your possession is asked to contact the Sanitarian’s office at 377-5772 at your earliest convenience.