An E. coli O157 outbreak has sickened six people associated with the Montessori of Alameda preschool in Portland, Oregon. All of the patients have laboratory-confirmed Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) infections. One patient is an adult and five are preschoolers. One child has been hospitalized in this outbreak and as of March 10, 2017 was still in the hospital.
All of the confirmed cases have occurred in one classroom at a Portland preschool. Samples from three of the patients have been typed so far and have been identified as E. coli O157. The Health Department is investigating the source of this pathogenic bacteria, including whether there is a link to this outbreak and the national recall of I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter. The cause is not yet known.
Dr. Paul Lewis, Multnomah County Health Officer, said in a statement, “we believe at this point, risk to the general public is low as we have no reported cases outside this location in Multnomah County. We are communicating directly with parents at this school because of the serious nature of this disease.”
Julie Sullivan-Springhetti, Communications Director for Multnomah County, told Food Poisoning Bulletin that laboratories are H-typing samples from patients, but no word about the test results has been received as of March 13, 2017. H-typing identifies whether the bacteria is one of 53 identified H antigens, including H7. She could provide no further information on the child who was hospitalized. She also said that case finding is on-going.
Symptoms of an E coli infection include severe and painful stomach and abdominal cramps, watery and/or bloody diarrhea, and a mild fever. These symptoms usually begin 3 to 7 days after exposure to the bacteria. Most people recover on their own.
If this infection is improperly treated with antibiotics or if the patient is age 5 or younger, it can develop into hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a serious condition that can cause kidney failure, seizures, strokes, and death. The symptoms of HUS include little or no urine output, easy bruising, pale skin, lethargy, a skin rash, and easy bruising. Anyone experiencing these symptoms must see a doctor as soon as possible.
Pritzker Hageman law firm helps people sickened by contaminated food get answers, compensation and justice. Our lawyers represent families of children in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits against food processors, restaurants, retailers, schools, and others. Attorney Fred Pritzker recently won $7.5 million for young client whose kidneys failed because of hemolytic uremic syndrome.
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