Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498
Date: July 2, 2012
TAKE STEPS TO PREVENT FOOD-BORNE ILLNESS
The Division of Public Health (DPH) reminds residents to be smart this summer and protect themselves from food-borne illnesses. An
outbreak of E. coli infections has been identified in a number of states. No cases have been identified in Delaware.
Among the most commonly recognized food-borne illnesses are caused by the organisms E. coli 0157:H7, Salmonella, Campylobacter and
Noroviruses. Although these illnesses usually run their course, they can become severe and may require medical attention. Consult a
health care provider if you experience a high fever (temperature over 101.5 F, measured orally), blood in the stools, prolonged
vomiting that prevents keeping liquids down (which can lead to dehydration), signs of dehydration (including a decrease in
urination, a dry mouth and throat, and feeling dizzy when standing up), and/or diarrheal illness that lasts more than three days.
DPH recommends the following to reduce the risk of food-borne diseases:
- Wash your hands with soap and water before preparing food. Avoid preparing food for others if you have diarrheal illness.
- Wash hands with soap regularly but particularly after bathroom use, changing a baby's diaper or contacting dog or cat feces,
particularly stools of puppies and kittens with diarrhea.
- Remind household members with diarrheal illness, especially children, to wash their hands carefully and frequently with soap
and water to reduce the risk of spreading diarrheal illnesses.
- Cook meat, poultry and eggs thoroughly. Use a thermometer to measure the internal temperature of meat. Ground beef should be
cooked to an internal temperature of 160 F. Eggs should be cooked until the yolk is firm.
- Avoid cross-contaminating foods by washing hands, utensils, and cutting boards after they have been in contact with raw meat or
poultry and before they touch another food. Put cooked meat on a clean platter.
- Refrigerate leftovers promptly if not to be eaten within 4 hours. Bacteria can grow quickly at room temperature.
- Rinse fresh fruits and vegetables well under running tap water to remove visible dirt and grime. Remove and discard the
outermost leaves of a head of lettuce or cabbage. Be careful not to contaminate these foods while slicing them on the cutting
board, and avoid leaving cut produce at room temperature for many hours.
- Avoid drinking unpasteurized milk and juice.
- Report suspected food-borne illnesses to the DPH Bureau of Epidemiology at (302) 744-1033. If a public health official contacts
you to find out more about an illness you or someone you know had, your cooperation is appreciated and important. DPH investigates
outbreaks of food borne diseases to trace their source and prevent further illnesses.
For More Information, contact DPH at (302) 744-1033 or 1-888-295-5156 and/or visit CDC website: www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dbmd/diseaseinfo/foodborneinfections_g.htm
Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health
and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.