Two SDSU students infected with E. Coli

Two students contracted Shiga toxin-producing E. coli from an unknown source

E.+coli

Janice Haney Carr, CDC

Under a high magnification of 6836X, this digitally-colorized, scanning electron microscopic (SEM) image depicted a growing cluster of Gram-negative, rod-shaped, Escherichia coli bacteria, of the strain O157:H7, which is a pathogenic strain of E. coli.

by Owen Pratt, Staff Writer

In a campus-wide email, SDSU Student Health Services announced two SDSU students were infected with Shiga toxin-producing E. coli.

Circulated on Sept. 6, the email says one case comes from an on-campus student while the other is off-campus.

E. coli are a type of bacteria commonly found in food and drinks. While some symptoms are harmless, others can be quite serious. Pneumonia, diarrhea, vomiting, respiratory issues and urinary tract infections are just some of the symptoms patients can experience, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

The students began feeling symptoms on Aug. 27 and 29, according to Student Health Services. 

No food source has been identified for either case. The County of San Diego Health & Human Services Agency and the SDSU Environmental Health and Safety team are working to find the source of the infection. 

For SDSU students and faculty who might be experiencing symptoms, Student Health Services encourages people to email healthadvisory@sdsu.edu. 

To combat E. coli infections, the California Department of Public Health encourages people to wash their hands regularly and to keep food clean and untampered by pesticides, viruses and chemicals among many others. Keeping food separate from animals is highly recommended. 

Anne Barone, a barista at Big City Bagels Café (BCB), emphasized the food safety precautions her team takes to combat food-borne illness.

“We wear gloves when we handle food here and we never touch our food with our bare hands,” Barone said. “We also wash our hands before and after we touch food. Our boss is really big on having a clean space to work in, so we make sure everything’s wiped down with bleach, and we have a rag at each station.” 

Barone also highlighted the importance of adhering to expiration dates, as consuming outdated food increases the likelihood of contamination. 

This is not the first infection SDSU has faced. On Sept. 1, an off-campus student tested positive for monkeypox, a viral disease that has infected 21,274 Americans as of August 2022. While that was happening, a new strain of E. coli infected 97 people. 

As of Sept. 9, there are no new updates on the infections. For more information on E. coli, visit the CDC website.

This story will be updated. 

Editors’ Note: In an email on Sept. 16, SDSU announced that no new cases have been reported. The search for a food source is ongoing.