The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (December 29) reminded people to observe good personal, food and environmental hygiene to prevent intestinal infection caused by E. Coli O157:H7 bacteria.
The appeal came after the confirmation by laboratory test today of a case involving a 2-year-old boy living in Kowloon City. This is the second case of E. Coli O157:H7 infection reported to the CHP this year.
CHPs investigation revealed that the child developed abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhoea on December 19 and was admitted to hospital the same day. He was discharged the next day and is now in stable condition.
His stool specimen grew toxin-producing E. Coli O157:H7 bacteria and was also tested positive to Norovirus.
The child had no travel history during the incubation period. His household contacts did not show any symptoms of intestinal infection.
CHPs investigation continues.
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, etc.) 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 food thoroughly. The core temperature of food should reach 75 degrees Celsius for two to three minutes.
People should maintain good personal and environmental hygiene to avoid person-to-person transmission of the bacteria through faecal-oral route. They are advised to wash hands thoroughly particularly before handling food; before eating; after visiting toilet and after changing diapers for their babies, the spokesman said.
There was one case of E. coli 0157:H7 infection in 2007 and and two cases in 2008.
People may visit the CHP website http://www.chp.gov.hk to obtain more information on the disease.