Symptoms of E. coli include cramps and diarrhea. About a third of patients have a fever.
In extreme cases, the E. coli bacteria produces a toxin that causes blood cells to break and kidneys to fail. This can lead to death.
Children with these symptoms should see a doctor. The disease is diagnosed with a bacteria culture, which can take 24 hours to grow.
“There is not an antibiotic to treat this,” said Dr. Kim Thorburn, health officer for the Spokane Regional Health District. “It clears spontaneously on its own.”
In serious cases patients are hospitalized so they can receive intravenous fluids.
It can take two days to two weeks for people with the bacteria to show symptoms. Some people carry the bacteria without any symptoms, Thorburn said.
E. coli is passed orally from fecal matter. It can contaminate food, water, toys or diapers.
On Monday night, the health district planned to call parents with children at the YMCA daycare center. The district was going to survey parents about their children’s health to determine if were any other cases.
Parents who think their child has E. coli can call the health district at 324-1442. Callers will likely reach an “assessment epidemiology” voice mail. They should say they are calling about E. coli, leave their name, phone number and a description of their child’s ailments. Someone will call them back, Thorburn said.