KVUE-TV News in Austin, Texas is reporting that one child has died and five other people are ill all due to a shiga toxin. Since an initial report on the illnesses issued late last week by the Texas Department of Health Services, concern about the shiga toxin has become very serious.
As reported by KVUE Reporter Erin Ochoa, most of the cases are found in Bastrop County, located in southeast Texas. Ochoa reports that:
It was about nine days ago when 18-month-old Michael Rick became ill. Michael’s mother, Sylvia Rick, says he was hospitalized and treated and is improving.She believes he may have been one of six people recently diagnosed with a serious diarrheal illness caused by a shiga toxin."He got sick about a week ago," Rick said. "He had some really bad diarrhea, was throwing up not too much, just a little bit and it just progressively got worse."
Shiga toxins are usually foodborne, but health officials are still trying to figure out the exact source of the bacteria. Symptoms usually appear one to nine days after exposure, and include severe or bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps.
"The bacteria that can produce this shiga toxin typically live in the intestines of animals, so the origin is usually going to be related to fecal matter from animal waste," said Doug McBride, spokesperson for the Texas Department of State Health Services.He says there are anywhere from 100 to 200 cases of illnesses due to the shiga toxin each year in Texas, but it’s rarely fatal.
According to the state health department, six cases have already been reported:– Four in Bastrop County– One in Fayette County– One in Lee County.
Three of the cases were children. One of those children died."What’s unusual about this is to have six cases within a few days and in a relatively small geographical area," McBride said.Health official are awaiting the results of lab tests to identify a specific bacteria. They’re asking anyone who has any of these symptoms to seek medical care.
The KVUE-TV story can be found here.