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CHP investigates imported case of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli infection
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     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is today (May 2) investigating an imported 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 5-year-old girl with good past health, who presented with diarrhoea and abdominal pain on April 15. She attended CUHK Medical Centre on April 18. Her condition was stable and she did not require hospitalisation.

     Her stool specimen grew STEC upon laboratory testing.

     Initial enquiries of the CHP revealed that the patient had travelled to Zhanjiang from April 9 to 14 and consumed ice-cream at a restaurant there. According to the information provided by the family of the patient, she did not consume unpasteurised milk or raw food, or have contact with animals. 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 infection are similar to those recommended for other food-borne diseases. The public are advised to observe good personal and food hygiene:
 
  • Adopt the Five Keys to Food Safety in handling food, i.e. Choose (choose safe raw materials), Clean (keep hands and utensils clean), Separate (separate raw and cooked food), Cook (cook thoroughly) and Safe Temperature (keep food at a safe temperature) to prevent food-borne diseases;
  • Wash hands properly with liquid soap and water before handling food, after handling raw meat or poultry and before eating, and after going to the toilet or changing diapers;
  • Cook food and boil water thoroughly before consumption. 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 your doctor immediately if you have symptoms of STEC infection, particularly bloody diarrhoea.

     ‚ÄčThe public may visit the CHP's STEC page for more information.
 
Ends/Tuesday, May 2, 2023
Issued at HKT 19:50
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