HUNTLEY, Ill. — Two more cases of E.coli have been linked to an outbreak at a far northwest suburban high school.

According to the McHenry County Health Department, there have now been nine confirmed cases of E.coli tied to Huntley High School after the first round of cases were reported last week.

MCDH officials said they are working with staff at the high school to analyze students and staff survey results to determine the source of the illness.

The strain of E.coli detected at Huntley High School is known as STEC, or Shiga Toxin-producing E.Coli.

STEC is a bacterial infection known to cause gastrointestinal illness in humans. This strain of E. coli bacteria grows and lives in the intestines of people and animals. Transmission of STEC can occur due to contact with contaminated food, contaminated water, people, and animals. Symptoms and characteristics of STEC include:

  • Diarrhea (often bloody)
  • Fever
  • Abdominal cramping and body aches
  • Vomiting
  • Headaches

Symptoms typically start within 3-4 days of exposure to STEC but may take up to ten days to develop. Most individuals infected with STEC feel better within 5-10 days from the onset of the illness with rest and fluids.

To prevent and stop the spread of infection, MCDH officials recommend washing hands with soap and water when preparing and eating food, having contact with animals or their environment, and after bathroom use or changing a diaper.

MCDH officials also recommend avoiding swallowing water from ponds, lakes, and untreated swimming pools; as well as making sure to wash and cook foods properly, and to avoid unpasteurized (raw) dairy products and juices.

Those infected should not handle, prepare, or cook food for others until 48 hours after symptoms have resolved.