Tainted pizza

A worried father — he had just given his son one of the Totino’s or Jeno’s frozen pizza that is being recalled — sends a note that he is “freaking out” because he doesn’t know what to do. Does he wait until his son gets sick? Or is there something he can do now?

Good question.

First, let’s do the math. 120 million of these pizzas have been distributed since July 1, about three weeks before the first reported case, according to General Mills. There have been 21 suspected cases of E. coli or one for every 5.7 million pizzas sold. Of course, we don’t know how many cases there’ve been where people have gotten sick and not reported it.

The reported cases are in Illnesses occurred in Illinois (1), Kentucky (3), Missouri (2), New York (2), Ohio (1), Pennsylvania (1), South Dakota (1), Tennessee (8), Virginia (1), and Wisconsin (1).

There haven’t been any cases reported in three weeks.

The experts at the U.S. Department of Agriculture say you should save the pizza (whatever is left of it) if you just served it, and seek medical help if symptoms develop. “Symptoms typically develop within two to five days and can include severe bloody diarrhea and stomach cramps. In young children, the elderly and people with weaker immune systems, infection can lead to hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), causing destruction of red blood cells and kidney failure.”

But here’s the deal: people with E. coli are very contagious, according to familydoctor.org. So the day care center is out until you know for sure. And washing hands? Important. “Children shouldn’t go to a day care center until they have 2 negative stool cultures (proof that the infection is gone). Older people in nursing homes should stay in bed until 2 stool cultures are negative.”

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