Urges Testing to Stop Further Transmission
PITTSBURGH – In response to several cases of E. coli, the Allegheny County Health Department is asking health care providers to test patients for the O157:H7 strain of E. coli if they have symptoms of E. coli infection. In addition, anyone that develops bloody diarrhea is being urged to contact their health care provider.
Several cases have occurred among employees and customers of The Porch restaurant in Oakland. Five persons have been diagnosed with E. coli infections since October 1. All of the individuals are recovering, although four of the five were hospitalized.
E. coli are naturally occurring bacteria in the intestines of people and animals. Most of the strains are harmless, but the O157:H7 strain can cause serious illness. Symptoms of the disease usually appear three to four days after exposure and may include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea (which is often bloody) and vomiting. Exposures typically result from the ingestion of contaminated foods. Persons who have developed bloody diarrhea or other symptoms should contact their health care provider and call the Health Department at 412-687-2243.
“We’re urging health care providers to test for E. coli to see if there are any additional cases linked to this outbreak so we can stop further transmission of the disease,” said Health Director Dr. Karen Hacker.
The Porch is fully cooperating and assisting with the Health Department investigation. The restaurant has set up a toll-free hotline, 855-368-8888, to answer any questions from the public. It has voluntarily closed for today and has been approved by the Health Department to re-open tomorrow, after taking steps to ensure the safety of all its employees and customers.
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