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E. coli infections tied to kindergarten south of Seoul rise to 58

All News 15:44 June 29, 2020

SEOUL, June 29 (Yonhap) -- The number of people infected with a strain of E. coli bacteria in connection to a kindergarten just south of Seoul reached 58, one more from the previous day, health authorities said Monday.

Health authorities have widened a probe into the E. coli outbreak in Ansan, about 50 kilometers south of the capital, since a kindergarten student first showed symptoms of illness on June 12.

As of 6 p.m. Sunday, 114 students and their family members showed suspected symptoms, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

Of 21 hospitalized patients, 16 people, including 14 students, showed symptoms of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of E. coli that can cause kidney failure. Of them, four are undergoing dialytic therapy.

HUS, a rare disease that causes severe damage to the kidney and other organs, is nicknamed "hamburger disease" because the particular strain of E. coli that causes the infection can be found in undercooked red meat.

The KCDC have conducted epidemiological research, suspecting the mass food poisoning may have been caused by lunch provided by the kindergarten. But the source of the bacteria is still unknown.

"To prevent the E. coli outbreak, there is a need to keep hygiene measures, like washing hands and cooking beef adequately," KCDC Director Jeong Eun-kyeong said in a briefing.

The government has ordered the kindergarten to close until the end of this month.

This photo, taken on June 25, 2020, shows the exterior of a kindergarten in Ansan, just south of Seoul, where about 100 pupils have complained of food poisoning symptoms. (Yonhap)

sooyeon@yna.co.kr
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