The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) is investigating a handful of E. coli cases in younger children in Northeastern Alabama.

There are four cases of E. coli O157:H7 under investigation and two cases of Rotavirus.

E. coli is a bacteria commonly found in the lower intestine. Though most E coli strains are harmless, some can lead to severe cases of food poisoning. 

The ADPH said that all age groups are susceptible to E coli. However, young children and seniors face a more serious risk of severe illness and even kidney problems.

Symptoms of E coli can vary but may include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting. The ADPH said diarrhea from E coli. is often bloody. Occasionally, individuals with E. coli can catch a fever up to 101 degrees, but that is uncommon.

E coli. symptoms generally improve in about five to seven days.

The ADPH said it is essential to speak to your healthcare provider if you or your loved one begins experiencing E. coli symptoms, especially if very young or old and experiencing diarrhea. 

To reduce the risk of E. coli and other gastrointestinal diseases, ADPH advises washing your hands after using the restroom, touching raw meat and animals as well as avoiding unpasteurized dairy products and juices as well as unpurified water and pool water.

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