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Maricopa County Public Health Investigating Bloody Diarrhea
Outbreak in the West Valley
Residents Being Urged to Watch for Symptoms
PHOENIX (August 1, 2013) – The Maricopa County Departments of Public Health and Environmental Services in collaboration with the Arizona Department of Health Services is investigating a series of illnesses associated with bloody diarrhea in the West Valley.
So far 11 people have reported illness and 7 of those people have been hospitalized.
“We are working as hard and fast as we can to identify the source of this illness but in the meantime, because of the seriousness of those ill, we wanted to make sure that anyone who is experiencing bloody diarrhea seeks medical care,” said Dr. Bob England, director of Maricopa County Department of Public Health (MCDPH).
Residents in the West Valley who are experiencing bloody diarrhea are being asked to contact their healthcare provider so a stool culture can be ordered. Options for people without a health care provider include urgent care centers or community health centers.
The illness appears to be caused by a class of bacteria that produces a toxin. This toxin can cause severe illness and, especially in children, can lead to kidney failure and even death.
It is important for health care providers to suspect this class of bacteria in their diagnoses because treating children with antibiotics can increase the risk of serious consequences. Providers who have patients who they suspect may be related to this outbreak should order a stool culture and contact MCDPH’s disease reporting line at 602-747-7500.
“As of this morning, we know that we have a cluster of people who are sick with this type of bacteria and who all know each other. Disease investigators are now trying to piece together the puzzle of how/what made these people sick and if anyone else was put at risk. Of course, as we discover this information, we will continue to share what we know with the public,” England added.
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