Area health officials are reporting that they have seen seven recently reported cases of E. coli in the Stephens County area.
District Two Public Health Spokesman Dave Palmer said that the cases have all appeared in the past couple of weeks.
“At this time, we know that it is the most common type of E. Coli we see and it is not uncommon for us to see cases of E. Coli, but to see a large number like this, it is a little uncommon,” said Palmer.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, E. coli is a bacteria that is found in the environment, foods, and intestines of people and animals.
Palmer said people can come into contact with it in a number of ways.
“It comes from improper hand washing or contaminated surfaces onto food and the people ingest the food and get the E. Coli bacteria in their body,” said Palmer. “The symptoms for E. Coli are severe stomach cramps, diarrhea, or even bloody diarrhea.”
Palmer said anyone with those symptoms in the Stephens County area should see their doctor.
As for preventing E. coli, Palmer said there are several things people should keep in mind.
“Always make sure you wash your hands good when preparing food,” said Palmer. “Make sure your food is cleaned well. Wash your raw vegetables really well. If you are cooking meat, make sure to cook it to the proper temperature to kill any bacteria that may be present.”
Palmer said they are continuing to investigate these seven cases and find out more information about them.