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UNC E. coli Outbreak Up To 6 Cases

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Orange County public-health officials said Wednesday evening that they have confirmed six cases of E. coli bacterial infections among University of North Carolina students.

Lab results are pending on four more suspected cases, three of which involve UNC students. Two other people were found not to have contracted E. coli infections after their lab results came back negative, officials said.

The first three cases were identified Monday, and a fourth was confirmed Tuesday. E. coli can cause diarrhea and abdominal cramps and is occasionally associated with severe complications, especially in young children and older adults.

Investigators haven't yet been able to determine a common denominator for the affected students, but they are continuing to interview the students to trace the source of the outbreak.

"These efforts are helping to narrow the focus of the investigation, but we have nothing definitive at this time," said Judy Butler, a community health nurse with the Orange County Health Department.

"We are very encouraged by the fact that no new illnesses are being reported," Orange County Health Director Rosemary Summers said.

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