The McHenry County Administration Building, 667 Ware Road in Woodstock, which houses the McHenry County Health Department | Photo: McHenry County Government.

Health officials are investigating after seeing a spike in cases of campylobacteriosis, a bacterial disease typically caused by contaminated water and food, in McHenry County residents.

The McHenry County Department of Health (MCDH) said they have identified eight cases of the disease between August 17 and August 30.

The amount is four times as many cases compared to the previous two weeks and more than three times the cases in August compared to July.

No common source of infection has been identified yet, MCDH said.

Campylobacter bacteria is the most common cause of bacterial diarrhea in the United States.

People can become ill with campylobacteriosis by eating contaminated food, drinking contaminated water or having contact with infected animals.

Most people who become ill from the infection get diarrhea, which may be bloody, and may experience cramping, abdominal pain and fever within two to five days after exposure to the bacteria, according to MCDH.

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Nausea and vomiting may also occur and the illness typically lasts about a week.

Those who believe they have symptoms should contact their healthcare provider as soon as possible, MCDH said.

The majority of people with campylobacteriosis recover on their own and health officials recommend they drink extra fluids to prevent dehydration.

Antibiotics are occasionally used to treat severe cases and are also given to people who are at high risk for severe disease.

Health officials recommend people not drink raw milk or untreated water from lakes, rivers and ponds.

Good hand hygiene should be practiced when handling puppies or kittens with diarrhea.

People should also wash their hands before, during and after preparing food, while also cooking raw meats to the proper temperature, MCDH said.

Soap and hot water should be used to wash cutting boards, counters and utensils used to prepare raw poultry, seafood or meat in order to prevent cross-contamination with other foods.

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