State public health officials say there’s a “small cluster” of e-coli cases in the Newton area. Five cases have been reported in Jasper County according to John Easley, public relations director at the hospital in Newton. All are children.
“They’ve done an investigation through the Iowa Department of Public Health and haven’t pinpointed an exact source,” Easley says. “There’s nothing that they’ve learned that these children shared in common experience, but they’re still looking.”
According to the state Department of Public Health, there have been 33 e-coli cases reported in Iowa since May 1st. That’s less than half as many as were reported in the same period last year.
Diane Larson, director of Jasper County’s Public Health Nursing Service, says the major symptom of e-coli is diarrhea. Some who fall ill suffer stomach cramps and chills. Common causes are food that’s not completely cooked or eaten raw. Young children can also contract the disease from animals at petting zoos if they do not wash their hands thoroughly afterwards.