What you should know about...
Escherichia (E.) coli bacteria are found in the digestive tracts of most humans and many animals. Usually, these infections are harmless and may even be beneficial. Not all E. coli are alike and, in a few cases, illness may result from infection with particular strains. One strain, E. coli O157:H7, causes one of the most serious digestive tract infections in the United States. Some persons infected with this strain may have very mild illness while others develop severe bloody diarrhea. In some instances, infection may result in widespread breakdown of red blood cells leading to an often fatal, hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).
Infections with this organism are often the result of eating undercooked meat (especially hamburger). However, feces may also spread this infection and children and staff may pick it up from ill persons in child care facilities. To prevent the spread of E. coli O157:H7 infections in your child care facility: