An outbreak of E. coli at a suburban Chicago high school now stands at nine confirmed cases, according to health officials.
The McHenry County Health Department has confirmed new cases of E. Shiga toxin-producing coli (STEC) have been reported at Huntley High School, according to officials.
Five cases were initially reported as the school said last week that health officials were working to determine “common exposures” among the five people who were diagnosed. No definitive source has been identified at this time.
“This is a very complicated investigation with multiple potential exposures within the school and outside of the school,” the Department of Health told NBC Chicago. “A large amount of data is being collected and analyzed, with no definitive conclusion at this time.”
According to a press release, any child exhibiting symptoms of E. coli should be kept at home until it has been symptom-free for at least 48 hours.
E. coli is extremely contagious, with authorities saying it can be spread through:
-Swallowing water while swimming or drinking water contaminated with STEC bacteria
-Person-to-person transmission, where the bacteria passes from stool or soiled fingers from one person to another through handling food or direct contact.
-Animal contact by touching or handling animals carrying the bacteria
Symptoms of E. coli usually include an acute onset of diarrhea and/or vomiting. Nausea, abdominal cramps, fever, and body aches are also typical symptoms, all of which can last 5 to 10 days.
The disease often has an incubation period of 2 to 10 days, according to authorities.
No further information was immediately available.