The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) has identified a case of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) infection in a Waldoboro food service worker, according to a Monday evening news release.
The individual handled deli food at Morse’s Sauerkraut in Waldoboro while infectious from April 1 through May 13.
An assessment of the individual’s illness determined that patrons of Morse’s Sauerkraut may be at risk for STEC infection, the Maine CDC announced.
Individuals who purchased deli items from Morse’s Sauerkraut between April 1 and May 13 should watch for symptoms of infection, such as severe stomach cramps, diarrhea (often bloody), and vomiting.
Those experiencing such symptoms should contact a health care provider to be tested. Maine CDC recommends discarding food purchased between April 1 and May 13 because of potential contamination.
Some infections of STEC are mild, though some can be severe or life-threatening. Very young children and older people are more likely to develop severe illness. Some individuals may develop a serious condition called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).
Exposures that result in illness include consumption of contaminated food, consumption of unpasteurized (raw) milk, consumption of water that has not been disinfected, contact with cattle, or contact with the feces of infected people. The best ways to prevent STEC infections are to wash your hands, cook meats thoroughly, avoid raw milk consumption, and prevent cross contamination while cooking.
STEC is primarily transmitted to a person through swallowing the bacteria from a contaminated item. The time between ingesting the bacteria and feeling sick is usually 3-4 days after exposure, but it may be as short as 1 day or as long as 10 days.
Individuals experiencing symptoms should contact a health care provider, get tested, and avoid high risk activities (such as serving or cooking food for others).
Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) and Maine CDC are working with the business owner and local health care providers to minimize risk of further exposures. DACF oversees licensing for establishments like Morse’s Sauerkraut.