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Signs & Symptoms

Multistate Outbreak of Shiga Toxin-producing Escherichia coli O26 Infections Linked to Raw Clover Sprouts at Jimmy John's Restaurants (Final Update)

Posted April 3, 2012 4:45 PM ET

This particular outbreak appears to be over. However, E. coli is still an important cause of human illness in the United States. More information about E. coli, and steps people can take to reduce their risk of infection, can be found on the CDC E. coli Web Page.

Clinical Features

People usually get sick from Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) 2-8 days (average of 3-4 days) after swallowing the organism. Most people infected with STEC O26 develop diarrhea (usually watery but sometimes bloody) and abdominal cramps. Some illnesses last longer and can be more severe. Infection is usually diagnosed by testing of a stool sample. Many clinical laboratories do not test for non-O157 STEC, such as STEC O26, because it is harder to identify than STEC O157. Most people recover within a week, but, rarely, some develop a more severe infection. Vigorous rehydration and other supportive care is the usual treatment; antibiotic treatment is generally not recommended. Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) is uncommon with STEC O26 infection in the United States, but it can begin as the diarrhea is improving. HUS can occur in people of any age but is most common in children under 5 years old and the elderly. It is marked by easy bruising, pallor, and decreased urine output.