Health officials have issued a warning after an E. coli outbreak was reported involving six Huntley High School students testing positive for the highly contagious disease.
Huntley High School Principal Dr. Marcus Belin sent an email update to parents, staff and students on Thursday about the situation.
The McHenry County Department of Health (MCDH) confirmed six cases of Shiga Toxin-Producing E. coli (STEC).
All of the cases involve students at Huntley High School.
“We are taking this situation seriously and are committed to the safety and well-being of our students and staff,” Belin said.
The school has been working with the health department to connect with the families of the students who have been impacted.
The MCDH is continuing its investigation into potential exposures, both internally and externally.
The department said there is insufficient evidence to indicate the illness is associated with the consumption of a food item.
The source of the outbreak has not been identified yet.
“As E. coli is easily transmissible among individuals, it’s crucial to stress the significance of practicing good hygiene and frequent handwashing. HHS has implemented several proactive measures to keep students and staff safe that we wanted to make you aware of,” Belin said in the message.
Science teachers taught students this week about E. coli and encouraged them to wash their hands frequently.
Handwashing signs have been posted throughout the building and hand sanitizer is available throughout the building in all classrooms.
“We recognize homecoming is a special week for our Red Raiders, but we ask for your help in ensuring a safe and healthy environment at school where most of our homecoming activities will be taking place,” Belin said.
Any student who has experienced symptoms of E. coli is asked to stay home and contact their medical provider.
Belin said students must be symptom-free for at least 48 hours before they can return to school or participate in activities.
Symptoms of the disease include acute onset diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, abdominal cramps, fever and body aches.