Press Release

October 28, 2011


Public Health Alert – Illinois E. coli Case Possibly Linked to St. Louis Area Outbreak 

CHICAGO – The Illinois Department of Public (IDPH), along with local health departments in Illinois, are investigating a case of shiga toxin producing Escherichia coli, or E. coli STEC bacteria illness reported in St. Clair County. Further investigation and laboratory testing will allow authorities to determine if this case is linked to those in the St. Louis, Missouri area.  Public health authorities in Illinois will investigate any newly reported cases of STEC to determine if they may be linked to this outbreak.

IDPH and other public health authorities in Illinois are conducting an investigation to determine the source of the outbreak, but at this time, no specific source has been identified.

Escherichia coli (abbreviated as E. coli) are a large and diverse group of bacteria. Although most strains of E. coli are harmless, some can make you sick. If a person experiences bloody diarrhea or prolonged diarrhea they may have a food borne form of E. coli infection and should call their health care provider immediately.

E. coli is spread most often through the consumption of contaminated food, the consumption of unpasteurized (raw) milk, the consumption of water that has not been disinfected, contact with cattle, or contact with the feces of infected people.

Here are three steps people can take to reduce the risk of exposure to E. coli:

  • WASH YOUR HANDS thoroughly after using the bathroom or changing diapers and before preparing or eating food.

  • COOK meats thoroughly. Ground beef and meat that has been needle-tenderized should be cooked to a temperature of at least 160°F/70˚C.

  • PREVENT cross contamination in food preparation areas by thoroughly washing hands, counters, cutting boards, and utensils after they touch raw meat.

For more information on E. coli log onto:

idph online home
idph online home

Illinois Department of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
Phone 217-782-4977
Fax 217-782-3987
TTY 800-547-0466
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