Shiga Toxin-Producing E. coli (STEC)
Updates and information
San Diego State University is providing information and guidance related to Shiga Toxin-Producing E. coli to help ensure that students, faculty and staff are well informed about the current situation.
SDSU is closely monitoring the developments around this situation and will provide updates as appropriate. To help keep yourself and others safe, familiarize yourself with the information below.
On Sept. 6, Student Health Services notified the SDSU community of two cases of Shiga Toxin-Producing E. coli (STEC) in the student community in one residential and one non-residential student. These students began experiencing symptoms on Aug. 27 and 29, respectively.
At this time, a specific food source has not been identified for either of these cases. SDSU’s Environmental Health and Safety team is working closely with the County of San Diego Health & Human Services Agency to investigate these cases and to identify and confirm the potential source. Additional information will be shared with the community as it becomes available.
SDSU San Diego (on-campus)
SDSU San Diego (non-residential)
*On-campus is defined as individuals who live on campus.
About Shiga Toxin-Producing E. coli (STEC)
According to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), Shiga Toxin-Producing E. coli (STEC) is an infection that is caused by certain types of the Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria. The most common source of STEC infections are eating or drinking food, water, or drinks that are contaminated with the bacteria. Contaminated food may be those such as raw or undercooked meat products, raw produce and leafy greens, unpasteurized milk, apple juice or cider, or raw flour such as that in cookie dough.
Symptoms of STEC
Signs and symptoms of a STEC infection will typically start 3-4 days after consuming a food or drink product that contains the bacteria. These symptoms include:
- Severe abdominal cramps
- Watery or bloody diarrhea (3 or more loose stools in a 24-hour period)
Symptoms can onset between 1 and 10 days after exposure.
Most individuals recover from this infection within 5-7 days without treatment. In some cases, individuals can experience more severe illness and may develop a serious kidney condition and require hospitalization.
What You Should Do
For all members of the SDSU community, if you have experienced these symptoms since Aug. 27, please notify Student Health Services by emailing [email protected], especially if you have had diarrhea that lasted more than three days, diarrhea accompanied by a fever higher than 102°F, blood in the stool, or such frequent vomiting that you were unable to keep liquids down or were experiencing signs of dehydration such as passing very little urine.
Also, if you experience these symptoms:
- Notify your healthcare provider.
- Students can also call Student Health Services at 619-594-4325
- Report your case by emailing [email protected]
Protecting Yourself from STEC
CDPH has shared actions you can take to protect yourself from a STEC infection.
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and warm water, especially before eating
- When soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Eat and drink only pasteurized milk, dairy products, and juices
- Keep food and animals separate
- Avoid drinking or accidentally swallowing recreational water, such as water from rivers, lakes, streams, and swimming pools.
It is also recommended that you practice good food safety habits, which includes the following:
- Cleaning hands, utensils, and surfaces where you prepare food, especially after touching raw meat, poultry, eggs, or seafood
- Wash raw fruits and vegetables before eating but do not wash raw meat, poultry, or eggs before cooking.
- Keep raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs away from ready-to-eat foods
- Never place cooked food on plates that previously held raw meat
- Heat food to the correct temperature to kill any germs that can make you sick
- Do not eat raw or undercooked meat, especially beef products
- Refrigerate food right away to prevent germs from growing in your food
- Do not prepare or serve food to others if you have diarrhea
SDSU is continuing to investigate this situation in partnership with the County of San Diego and will provide updates to the community as they become available. More information is available via the resources below:
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control Shiga Toxin-Producing E. coli site.
- California Department of Public Health STEC site
- County of San Diego STEC site
Last updated: September 6, 2022