Five people in the Alba area have been diagnosed with gastrointestinal disorder that can cause up to a week of uncomfortable diarrhea and vomiting.


Five people in the Alba area have been diagnosed with gastrointestinal disorder that can cause up to a week of uncomfortable diarrhea and vomiting.

Tony Moehr, Jasper County Health Department director, said the department is interviewing family and friends to try to determine if the five people have any common history that might point to one source for the bacteria Campylobacter, but nothing has been found as of Thursday.

“The victims are not related although they do live in a cluster in the Alba area,” Moehr said. “A lot of times you see in these cases where children in the house have attended the same daycare or the victims have attended the same church function but so far we don’t have that in these cases.”

The Jasper County Health Department announced on Wednesday it was investigating a cluster of gastrointestinal illnesses caused by the bacteria Campylobacter.

Campylobacteriosis is an infectious disease that causes diarrhea, cramping, abdominal pain, and fever within two to five days after exposure to the organism. The diarrhea may be bloody and can be accompanied by nausea and vomiting.

The illness typically lasts a week and usually does not result in any long-term health problems. Consulting a medical provider and receiving appropriate treatment can shorten the duration of the illness.

Most cases of campylobacter occur after eating raw or undercooked poultry meat, from cross-contamination of other foods, unpasteurized food or milk, contaminated water, or contact with infected animals.

Moehr said the illness caused by the Campylobacter bacteria can be spread from person to person but by far the most common way the illness spreads is when someone comes in contact with animal fecal waste, then fails to wash his or her hands thoroughly before working with food.

In a daycare setting, it can be spread when someone comes in contact with the diaper of a child with the bacteria and fails to wash hands thoroughly.

Physicians and clinical laboratories that diagnose campylobacter should report their findings to their local health department. For any questions, please contact the Jasper County Health Department at 417-358-3111 or your primary medical provider. Additional information can be found at the Center for Disease Control website at www.cdc.gov.