Health Officials Looking Into E. coli Outbreak In Rowan, Cabarrus Counties
E. coli O157:H7
Rowan and Cabarrus counties are investigating an outbreak of the intestinal infection E. coli O157:H7.
Communicable disease experts from the North Carolina Division of Public Health and from local hospitals are assisting the local health departments with the investigation.
As of Thursday morning (June 7), four cases of the illness had been confirmed by laboratory tests, and nine more were considered probable cases and are awaiting lab testing. Several other possible cases are under active investigation.
Many of the sick people identified so far ate at the Captain's Galley Restaurant in China Grove between May 26 and May 29, 2007. Any person who has eaten at the Captain's Galley Restaurant on or after May 26 and has developed diarrhea should see a doctor immediately, as E. coli O157:H7 can cause serious disease with long-lasting effects. Severe cases can progress to fatal kidney failure, especially in young children.
No illness has been reported so far in people who ate at the restaurant after May 29, and no obvious source of infection has been found so far at the restaurant. However, public health officials are continuing to investigate, and are still looking for cases and working to find the cause of these infections to be sure that no one else gets infected.
E. coli O157:H7 is a bacterial infection that affects the stomach and intestines. People are usually infected by eating or drinking food or water that has been contaminated with the bacteria, or sometimes by contact with another infected person.
People who are infected often have diarrhea, stomach pain, or vomiting. Diarrhea may be bloody. Infections can be severe, especially in young children and the elderly. Early medical care, including treatment with IV fluids, is important.