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Public reminded to prevent E. coli O157:H7 infection

     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (May 24) reminded people to maintain good personal, food and environmental hygiene to prevent intestinal infection caused by E. coli O157:H7 bacteria.

     The appeal came after the confirmation by laboratory testing of a case involving a 1-year-old girl living in Wan Chai. This is the first case of E. coli O157:H7 infection reported to the CHP this year.

     The CHP's investigation revealed that the girl, with good past health, developed fever and loose stool on May 13. She sought medical consultation from a private doctor on May 15. Her condition has been stable all along and no hospitalisation is required.

     Her stool specimen grew toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7.

     She had no recent travel history and her home contacts were asymptomatic.

     The CHP's investigation is continuing.

     A CHP spokesman said that in general E. coli O157:H7 could be contracted through consumption of undercooked contaminated food (especially minced beef and hamburgers, etc) or contaminated water, or transmitted from person to person through the faecal-oral route.

     However, the bacteria can be killed at a cooking temperature of 75 degrees Celsius for two to three minutes.

     Members of the public are advised to cook food thoroughly to prevent infection. The core temperature of meat should reach 75 degrees Celsius for at least two to three minutes, until the cooked meat is brown throughout and the juices run clear.

     "They should maintain good personal and environmental hygiene to avoid person-to-person transmission of the bacteria through the faecal-oral route. They are advised to wash hands thoroughly, particularly before handling food and eating, and after visiting the toilet and changing diapers for their babies," he said.

     There was one case of E. coli 0157:H7 infection in 2011 and there were three others in 2012.

     People may visit the CHP website at to obtain more information on the disease.

Ends/Friday, May 24, 2013
Issued at HKT 15:56


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