Student Health Services is working with the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency regarding reports of two students who are suspected to have Shiga toxin-producing E. coli also known as STEC.
These cases were identified in students who began experiencing symptoms on Aug. 28 and Aug. 29. One case is in a residential student and the other is a non-residential student. At this time, a specific food source has not been identified for either of these cases. SDSU’s Environmental Health and Safety team is working closely with the county of San Diego HHSA to investigate these cases and to identify and confirm the potential source.
Additional information will be shared with the community as it becomes available.
About Shiga Toxin-Producing E. coli or STEC
According to the California Department of Public Health, Shiga Toxin-Producing E. coli or STEC is an infection that is caused by certain types of Escherichia coli bacteria. The most common source of STEC infections is eating or drinking food, water, or drinks that are contaminated with bacteria.
Contaminated food items may be those such as raw or undercooked meat products, raw produce, and leafy greens, unpasteurized milk, apple juice or cider, or raw flour such as that in cookie dough.
Symptoms of STEC
Signs and symptoms of a STEC infection will typically start three to four days after consuming a food or drink product that contains the bacteria. These symptoms include:
- Severe abdominal cramps
- Watery or bloody diarrhea (three or more loose stools in 24 hours)
Symptoms can onset between one and 10 days after exposure.
Most individuals recover from this infection within five to seven days without treatment. In some cases, individuals can experience more severe illness and may develop a serious kidney condition and require hospitalization.
What You Should Do
For all members of the SDSU community, if you have experienced these symptoms since Aug. 27, please notify Student Health Services by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, especially if you have had diarrhea that lasted more than three days, diarrhea accompanied by a fever higher than 102 degrees F, blood in the stool, or such frequent vomiting that you were unable to keep liquids down or were experiencing signs of dehydration such as passing very little urine.
Also, if you experience these symptoms:
- Notify a healthcare provider.
- Students can also call Student Health Services at 619-594-4325.
- Report your case by emailing email@example.com.
Protecting Yourself from STEC
CDPH has shared actions you can take to protect yourself from a STEC infection:
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and warm water, especially before eating.
- When soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Eat and drink only pasteurized milk, dairy products, and juices.
- Keep food and animals separate,
- Avoid drinking or accidentally swallowing recreational water, such as water from rivers, lakes, streams, and swimming pools.
It is also recommended that you practice good food safety habits, which include the following:
- Clean your hands as well as utensils and surfaces where you prepare food, especially after touching raw meat, poultry, eggs, or seafood.
- Wash raw fruits and vegetables before eating, but do not wash raw meat, poultry, or eggs before cooking.
- Keep raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs away from ready-to-eat foods.
- Never place cooked food on plates that previously held raw meat.
- Heat food to the correct temperature to kill any germs that can make you sick.
- Do not eat raw or undercooked meat, especially beef products.
- Refrigerate food right away to prevent germs from growing in your food.
- Do not prepare or serve food to others if you have diarrhea.
SDSU is continuing to investigate this situation in partnership with the county of San Diego. More information is on the university’s Shiga Toxin-Producing E. coli page and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control Shiga Toxin-Producing E. coli site.