Bloody diarrhea outbreak being investigated in West Valley

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- The Maricopa County Departments of Public Health and Environmental Services and the Arizona Department of Health Services are investigating an outbreak of bloody diarrhea in the West Valley.

According to the Maricopa County Department of Public Health, 11 people have reported the illness, and seven of those people have been hospitalized.

It is believed that the condition is caused by a class of bacteria that produces a toxin. The toxin can cause serious illness, kidney failure and even death.

“We are working as hard and fast as we can to identify the source of this illness but in the meantime, because of the seriousness of those ill, we wanted to make sure that anyone who is experiencing bloody diarrhea seeks medical care,” said Dr. Bob England, director of Maricopa County Department of Public Health.

West Valley residents who are suffering from bloody diarrhea are asked to contact their healthcare provider.

Healthcare providers who have a patient who may be suffering from this outbreak should order a stool culture and contact MCDPH’s disease reporting line at 602-747-7500.

“As of this morning, we know that we have a cluster of people who are sick with this type of bacteria and who all know each other,” added England. “Disease investigators are now trying to piece together the puzzle of how/what made these people sick and if anyone else was put at risk. Of course, as we discover this information, we will continue to share what we know with the public.”