The Illinois Department of Public Health is assisting local health officials in an investigation regarding a cluster of gastrointestinal illness. This cluster has been associated with the Pike County Color Drive, which is a festival held in Pike County, Illinois. The source of the outbreak is the apple cider that was consumed and sold at the festival. So far, 30 cases of illness have been reported. Testing has not identified the parasite responsible yet, but investigators are suspecting it to be E. coli or Cryptosporidiosis. Illness onset dates range from October 20 to October 28.
Cryptosporidiosis is caused by the parasite Cryptosporidium and results in symptoms such as vomiting, fever, watery diarrhea, and stomach cramps. Symptoms usually begin between 2 and 10 days after infection and last about 1 to 2 weeks. Many people recover without medical intervention, but if the illness worsens or lingers, medical attention may be required.
E. coli are a family of bacteria that is found in the intestines of many animals. Some strains of the bacteria that are found in the intestines of cattle can cause infection in humans. This can happen when contaminated food is consumed. Symptoms can appear between 3 and 10 days after infection, and will include vomiting, bloody diarrhea, and abdominal cramping. E. coli infections can be very serious. The infection may cause a complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). HUS damages red blood cells, which in turn can cause kidney damage or failure.
If you or a loved one drank or purchased cider at the Pike County Color Drive and began to show the symptoms of E. coli or Cryptosporidium poisoning, contact a medical professional.