LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Lab results confirm three people have tested positive for shiga toxin-producing E. coli, according to Louisville Metro Health Department spokesperson Dave Langdon.
Two of the patients live in Kentucky; the third patient is from Indiana. All three of them were treated in Louisville. It is unknown whether the patients remain hospitalized.
Metro Health is waiting for results of genetic fingerprinting, which will determine whether the strains are connected. This may help investigators identify where the bacteria originated. If the three cases are linked it would be considered a cluster, according to Langdon.
Shiga toxin-producing E. coli is a strain of the bacterium. "Shiga toxin-producing E. coli has the potential to make a person very ill. This is not a highly unusual number of E. coli cases in the area," Langdon said.
The Kentucky Department of Public Health is working with local agencies to trace the source.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most strains of E. coli are harmless, but other strains can cause diarrhea, urinary tract infections, respiratory illness, pneumonia and other illnesses. It is transmitted through contaminated food or water or through contact with other people or animals.
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