Public reminded to prevent E. coli O157:H7 infection
10 Sep 2010
The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (September 10) reminded people to observe good personal, food and environmental hygiene to prevent intestinal infection caused by E. coli O157:H7 bacteria.
The appeal followed confirmation by laboratory test of a local case involving a six-month-old boy living in Mong Kok. This is the sixth case of E. coli O157:H7 infection reported to the CHP this year.
The boy presented with loose stools with mucus since August 31. He was admitted to Queen Elizabeth Hospital twice on September 5 and 10 respectively. He is now in stable condition.
His stool specimen grew toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7.
The child had no travel history during the incubation period.
His household contacts are asymptomatic.
A CHP spokesman said that in general, E. coli O157:H7 could be contracted through consumption of undercooked contaminated food (especially minced beef and hamburgers) or contaminated water, or transmitted from person to person through the faecal-oral route.
“However, the bacteria can be killed at a cooking temperature of around 75 degrees Celsius for two to three minutes," he said.
"People are advised to cook meat thoroughly. The core temperature of food should reach 75 degrees Celsius for at least two to three minutes, until the cooked meat is brown throughout and the juices run clear.
"People should maintain good personal and environmental hygiene to avoid person-to-person transmission of the bacteria through the faecal-oral route. They are advised to wash hands thoroughly, particularly before handling food, before eating, after visiting the toilet and after changing diapers for their babies," the spokesman said.
There were two cases of E. coli 0157:H7 infection in 2008 and another two in 2009.
People may visit the CHP website, This link will open in a new windowwww.chp.gov.hk, to obtain more information on the disease.