Huntley High School now reports 6 students sickened by E. coli

Six students at Huntley High School have been sickened by E. coli, up from the five confirmed earlier Thursday by Principal Marcus Belin, as officials continued to monitor for more potential cases and hunt for the source of the outbreak.

An email sent to parents Wednesday identifies the infection as coming from shiga toxin-producing E. coli.

The McHenry County Department of Health is investigating the outbreak, department spokesman Nick Kubiak said.

According to information shared with parents in the email, E. coli can have an incubation period of two to seven days. Symptoms include diarrhea that is often bloody, vomiting, nausea, abdominal cramps, fever and body aches typically lasting five to 10 days.

The bacteria can be spread by:

• Eating foods contaminated with feces from an infected animal or eating foods that were prepared by someone who has contracted E. coli.

• Swallowing water while swimming or drinking water contaminated with E. coli bacteria.

• Person-to-person transmission, where the bacteria pass from the stool or soiled fingers of one person to the mouth of another person either through food handling or direct contact

• Animal contact or touching the animal's environment

The school asked parents to seek medical care if children develop symptoms and to inform the doctor about Huntley High School's current outbreak.

"We encourage frequent hand washing and practicing food safety," according to the email. "Your student must remain home until symptom-free for 48 hours."

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