Bill Wharton with the Dayton & Montgomery County Health Department told Food Poisoning Bulletin that a 4-year-old girl is hospitalized in critical condition with hemolytic uremic syndrome, a complication of an E. coli 0157:H7 infection contracted at the Neff’s Lawn Care picnic in Germantown Ohio on July 3. Her condition was downgraded to critical on July 12, 2012.
So far, 62 people have been sickened in this outbreak and 13 people have been hospitalized. Public health officials have not determined the source of the bacteria. Mr. Wharton said, “there was very little, if any, food left over from the picnic.” And many people attending the picnic brought their own foods to the event, complicating matters further.
The health department is continuing to interview those who are ill and those who prepared the food consumed at the picnic. The investigators are also looking at food handling, storage practices, potential for cross-contamination, and food temperature controls.
E. coli 0157:H7 is a shiga-toxin producing bacteria that can cause hemolytic uremic syndrome, the most common cause of acute kidney failure in children. When a person eats food contaminated with this bacteria, an infection occurs. The bacteria produce and release shiga toxins, which enter the bloodstream and travel to the kidneys. There, the toxins destroy red blood cells, forming clots in the kidney’s blood vessels. This can lead to kidney failure.
If you or anyone you know attended this picnic and has been ill, please see your healthcare provider immediately. He or she must report any E. coli infections to public health authorities. Call the Dayton & Montgomery County Health Department at 937-225-4460 to talk to a public health official for any questions or to report an illness.