A food-borne illness which was caused by E. coli bacteria is the source of an outbreak of illness among over 70 inmates at the Jefferson County jail. The inmates have reported symptoms such as abdominal cramping, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and bloody stools.
Illness from the shiga toxin-producing E. coli has been linked with eating undercooked beef or spinach, raw milk, unpasteurized apple juice, or with food like lettuce or alfalfa sprouts that are contaminated with human or animal feces. The illness can be spread from person to person.
The investigation, which began Friday, found a few inmates that complained of being sick. Over the weekend many more inmates contracted the illness. As of now 37 inmates are still sick, and 9 inmates were sent to the hospital. One is still being treated at a local hospital. Inmates who are sick have been separated from others and are being given fluids and medication to help cure them
Officials are trying to identify foods that may have sickened the inmates. Kitchen workers and the food supplier are being questioned and testing is being done on food, blood and stool samples.
For more information on this subject, please refer to our section on Defective and Dangerous Products.