The Dayton & Montgomery County Health Department has just updated the E. coli 0157:H7 outbreak linked to the Neff’s Lawn Care picnic in Germantown. Sixty-eight people are now ill, fourteen have been hospitalized, and three people are suffering from hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). And 16 people have tested positive for the outbreak strain of the bacteria.
The press release states that a 4-year-old girl, a 14-year-old male, and a 73-year-old male have developed HUS; all three are in serious condition. Last week, the 4-year-old girl was listed in critical condition. HUS is a complication of E. coli 0157:H7 infections, in which shiga toxins, released by the bacteria, destroy red blood cells. Those cells clog tiny blood vessels in the kidneys, leading to kidney failure.
Apparently, one case was caused by person-to-person contact, from an older sister to a younger sister. Since secondary infections are easily caused, public health officials are stressing that hand washing and other methods to reduce cross-contamination are critical.
As many as 300 people attended the picnic, and many brought their own food, which makes the investigation into the outbreak quite difficult. Public health officials are interviewing people who are ill and those who prepared the food. If you or anyone you know attended this picnic and have been ill, please contact your healthcare provider immediately. Your case might solve the mystery. Doctors are required to report cases of E. coli 0157:H7 infections to public health officials.