Queensland Health are urging the public to “be alert but not alarmed” as another eight people potentially infected with Shiga toxin-producing E.Coli, or STEC, came forward earlier this week.
An alert was issued by chief health officer Jeannette Young last Friday, after a woman and three children contracted STEC after visiting the Ekka’s Animal Boulevard.
Dr Young said STEC is a very serious, very infectious type of bacteria that can spread easily from person to person if they do not have good hygiene practices.
“STEC can rarely develop into haemolytic uraemic syndrome, or HUS, a blood disease that affects the kidneys, and in some cases can be fatal,” said Dr Young.
“The incubation period for STEC is 2-10 days, but most cases develop after 3-4 days.”
Despite the potential STEC outbreak, attendees from this year’s Ekka have expressed their feelings towards possible contamination saying common sense is important at big events.
Ms Nicole Ogden, who attended the Ekka this year, said she is not personally concerned about being in contact with the infected animals.
“Whenever I’m at the Ekka, I wash or sanitise my hands constantly. I feel like it’s just common sense to be extra hygienic at big events,” said Ms Ogden.
“I can’t afford to be sick as I don’t have the luxury of having time off.”
Dr Young urges anyone experiencing persistent or bloody diarrhoea after visiting the Ekka to seek urgent medical attention from their GP.
For more information on STEC contact your local doctor or call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84)