Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498
TAKE STEPS TO PREVENT FOOD-BORNE ILLNESS
The Division of Public Health (DPH) reminds residents to be
smart this summer and protect themselves from food-borne
illnesses. An outbreak of E. coli infections has been
identified in a number of states. No cases have been
identified in Delaware.
Among the most commonly recognized food-borne illnesses are
caused by the organisms E. coli 0157:H7, Salmonella,
Campylobacter and Noroviruses. Although these illnesses
usually run their course, they can become severe and may
require medical attention. Consult a health care provider
if you experience a high fever (temperature over 101.5 F,
measured orally), blood in the stools, prolonged vomiting
that prevents keeping liquids down (which can lead to
dehydration), signs of dehydration (including a decrease in
urination, a dry mouth and throat, and feeling dizzy when
standing up), and/or diarrheal illness that lasts more than
DPH recommends the following to reduce the risk of
Wash your hands with soap and water before preparing
food. Avoid preparing food for others if you have
Wash hands with soap regularly but particularly after
bathroom use, changing a baby's diaper or contacting
dog or cat feces, particularly stools of puppies and
kittens with diarrhea.
Remind household members with diarrheal illness,
especially children, to wash their hands carefully and
frequently with soap and water to reduce the risk of
spreading diarrheal illnesses.
Cook meat, poultry and eggs thoroughly. Use a thermometer
to measure the internal temperature of meat. Ground beef
should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 F.
Eggs should be cooked until the yolk is firm.
Avoid cross-contaminating foods by washing hands,
utensils, and cutting boards after they have been in
contact with raw meat or poultry and before they touch
another food. Put cooked meat on a clean platter.
Refrigerate leftovers promptly if not to be eaten within
4 hours. Bacteria can grow quickly at room temperature.
Rinse fresh fruits and vegetables well under running tap
water to remove visible dirt and grime. Remove and
discard the outermost leaves of a head of lettuce or
cabbage. Be careful not to contaminate these foods while
slicing them on the cutting board, and avoid leaving cut
produce at room temperature for many hours.
Avoid drinking unpasteurized milk and juice.
Report suspected food-borne illnesses to the DPH Bureau
of Epidemiology at (302) 744-1033. If a public health
official contacts you to find out more about an illness
you or someone you know had, your cooperation is
appreciated and important. DPH investigates outbreaks of
food borne diseases to trace their source and prevent
Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to
improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's
citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering
self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.