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O26 bacteria infects 17 at home and day nursery

Date Posted: 2011-07-29

An enterohemorrhagic bacteria strain hkas swept through a day nursery and a home under jurisdiction of the South Okinawa Health Center, infecting 17 and causing poisoning in a half-dozen others.

Okinawa Prefectural Welfare and Health Division Health Promotion Section officials say the 17 were infected sometime between the end of June and mid-July. Six were diagnosed with enterohemorrhagic poisoning after showing signs of diarrhea and vomiting last weekend. Three are hospitalized, while three others are being treated with medicines.

Officials say the cause isnít clear yet, but that an investigation is under way. Okinawa Prefecture is issuing appeals that people wash hands before and after using the bathroom, and encouraging people to apply heat to foods. The enteropathogenic O26 bacteria causes diarrhea, but is not as dangerous as verotoxins like O-157, which produce more serious complications.

Okinawa Prefecture health officials say the chances of infection from both bacteria are high, noting that they can be transmitted by oral infection from other carriers, such as food and water.

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