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CHP investigates case of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli infection
     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is today (September 26) investigating a case of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) infection, and hence reminded the public to maintain good personal, food and environmental hygiene against intestinal infections.
     The 33-year old female patient, with good past health, has developed abdominal pain and diarrhoea with blood-stained stool since September 18. She attended the Accident and Emergency Department of Tuen Mun Hospital the next day and hospitalisation was not required. The patient has been in a stable condition all along.
     Her stool specimen grew STEC upon laboratory testing by the Public Health Laboratory Services Branch of the CHP.
     Initial enquiries by the CHP revealed that the patient had no recent travel history. She also has no recent history of consumption of unpasteurised milk or raw food, nor contact with animals or visits to farms. Her home contacts have remained asymptomatic. The CHP's investigations are ongoing.
     "Escherichia coli (E. coli) is a bacterium that is commonly found in the gut of humans and warm-blooded animals. Most strains of E. coli are harmless. Some strains, however, such as STEC, can produce powerful toxins and cause severe food-borne disease. The most recognised serogroup of STEC is E. coli O157:H7," a spokesman for the CHP explained.
     Preventive measures for STEC infections are similar to those recommended for other food-borne diseases. The public are advised to observe good personal and food hygiene:
* Wash hands properly with liquid soap and water before eating or handling food, and after going to the toilet or changing diapers;
* Cook food and boil water thoroughly before consumption. Most food-borne viruses and bacteria (including STEC) can be killed when food is cooked or reheated long enough at sufficient high temperature. When cooking or reheating, the core temperature of the food should reach at least 75 degrees Celsius;
* Avoid consumption of unpasteurised milk or undercooked food; and
* Consult a doctor immediately if symptoms of STEC infection, particularly bloody diarrhoea, develop.
     The public may visit the CHP's website for more information on STEC infection.
Ends/Monday, September 26, 2016
Issued at HKT 19:40
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