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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 (August 27) 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 case involves a newborn baby girl, who was born at a private hospital on August 11. She presented with blood stained stool on the next day. The patient has been in a stable condition all along and was discharged on August 13.

     Her stool specimen grew STEC upon laboratory testing.

     Initial enquiries of the CHP revealed that the patient's mother was asymptomatic all along and had no recent travel history before giving birth. The patient’s mother had neither consumed unpasteurised milk or raw food, had contact with animals nor visited farms during the incubation period. The patient’s other home contacts remained asymptomatic. 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 STEC page for more information.
Ends/Monday, August 27, 2018
Issued at HKT 19:57
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