Mount Nittany Medical Center: Two cases of E. coli confirmed in State College area

Two cases of E. coli have been identified in the area, the Mount Nittany Medical Center confirmed Wednesday.

The specific strain that has been confirmed is known as enterohemorrhagic escherichia coli, or E. coli, hospital spokeswoman Nichole Monica said. The cases were reported in the past week, she said.

One of those infected is a State College Area High School student, district spokeswoman Julie Miller confirmed.

“At this point, there is no indication of any link between the district and the source of the case,” she said.

The teen had been transferred from Mount Nittany Medical Center to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore after her conditioned worsened, and she is being monitored there by the pediatric nephrology team, her mother said via a text message through a family friend.

She is “very ill and has a long road ahead but is expected to make a full recovery,” the mother said. “The family is overwhelmed by the outpouring of support, prayers and love from the community.”

More than 100 friends and classmates gathered Wednesday night at Calvary Baptist Church on University Drive for a prayer service.

No information was available about the second case.

Monica said the hospital notified the state Department of Health about the two cases.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Health said she cannot confirm or deny specific cases of illnesses. If the department receives a report, health officials would start an investigation to figure out what caused the sickness, said spokeswoman Holli Senior.

“If it is determined that there is any public health risk, the public will be notified accordingly,” Senior said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes E. coli as bacteria that settles in the digestive systems of humans and animals, causing sickness. E. coli can be contracted through food or water or through contact with people or animals.

Symptoms may include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting. Some infections are mild but others can be more severe or even life-threatening, the CDC says on its website.

The CDC says about 110,000 cases of enterohemorrhagic E. coli occur in the United States each year.