E. Coli

CRANDALL, Texas — The Texas Department of Health and Human Services (DSHS) is currently investigating a suspected case of E. coli in a six-month old infant from Crandall who is being treated in a Dallas area hospital.

State health officials tell inForney.com that the investigation is to determine the possible source of the bacteria and how or where the infant might have been exposed.

Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria normally live in the intestines of healthy people and animals. Most varieties of E. coli are harmless or cause relatively brief diarrhea. But a few particularly nasty strains, can cause severe abdominal cramps, bloody diarrhea and vomiting and can be deadly according to the Mayo clinic.

People can be exposed to E. coli from contaminated water or food — especially raw vegetables and undercooked ground beef. Healthy adults usually recover from infection with E. coli O157:H7 within a week, but young children and older adults have a greater risk of developing a life-threatening form of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome.

Signs and symptoms of E. coli typically begin three or four days after exposure to the bacteria, though you may become ill as soon as one day after to more than a week later. Signs and symptoms include diarrhea, which may range from mild and watery to severe and bloody and Abdominal cramping, pain or tenderness. Nausea and vomiting also occurs in some people.

E. coli bacteria can easily travel from person to person, especially when infected adults and children don't wash their hands properly. Family members of young children with E. coli infection are especially likely to acquire it themselves. Outbreaks have also occurred among children visiting petting zoos and in animal barns at county fairs.

An epidemiologist for DSHS tells inForney.com that the protocol for investigation will be determined by the specific strain of E. coli that is found, which has not been publicly released at this time.

No vaccine or medication can protect you from E. coli-based illness, though researchers are investigating potential vaccines DSHS says. To reduce your chance of being exposed to E. coli, avoid risky foods, watch out for cross-contamination and wash hands thoroughly after handling animals, livestock or raw meats and foods.

Officials say that if you have concerns or symptoms of E. coli persists to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

inForney.com has reached out to the Kaufman County Public Health authority, Dr. William Fortner, for comment but have not heard back as of press time.

This is a developing story.