The Dayton & Montgomery County Health Department has updated their investigation into the Neff’s Lawn Care picnic E. coli 0157:H7 outbreak. As of July 23, 2012, 75 people have been sickened, 14 have been hospitalized, and three people are still hospitalized with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Those three with HUS include a 4-year-old girl, a 14-year-old male, and a 73-year-old male.
As many as 300 people attended the picnic which was held on July 3, 2012. Because of cross-contamination after the original outbreak, two secondary cases of E. coli 0157:H7 have been reported. Public health officials are stressing the need for good hygiene practices, including washing hands thoroughly after visiting the bathroom, and before preparing food.
In fact, anyone who is ill with a diarrheal illness should not prepare food or serve food to others. Anyone who has been sickened in this outbreak should have a negative test before they cook or handle food.
Stool samples from eighteen of the patients have confirmed they have the same strain of E. coli bacteria. Officials continue to investigate the cause of the outbreak, but the source of contamination remains unknown. Since some food was provided by the company and some food was brought in by attendees, finding the source of the bacteria is difficult.
If you or anyone you know attended the customer appreciation picnic and became ill, contact your healthcare provider and tell her about your situation. She should contact the public health department at 937-225-4460.