September 28, 2021

Jackson County Oregon E. coli Outbreak Update: 16 Sick, 12 Hospitalized

The Jackson County E. coli outbreak has been updated by the Jackson County Department of Health in their September 2021 Flash Report.  The number of cases remains at 16, with 12 patients hospitalized. There has been no change in the number of patients since the last update in late August, 2021.

Jackson County Oregon E. coli Outbreak Update: 16 Sick, 12 Hospitalized

However, there is more information in this update about the patients themselves. The patient age range is from 11 months to 65 years, with the median age 23.5 years. Most of those sickened are in their teens and twenties, and most are male.

County health officials are working with the Oregon Health Authority on this Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) outbreak. There is still not a definitive hypothesis on the source of infection. Genome sequencing has been completed on patient isolates, but has not matched any other cases in the state. Officials are conducting in-depth interviews with patients and their families to try to  identify the source.

Previous E. coli outbreaks around the country have been linked to county fairs and state fairs, petting zoos, agricultural tourism such as orchards and farms, foods like romaine lettuce, ground beef, apple juice, and cake mix, and water attractions like lakes and beaches. Because there are so many ways to contract this infection, people need to know the symptoms of an E. coli infection so they know when to contact a doctor.

Officials in Jackson County are asking medical providers to be aware of these symptoms and the increase in cases since August 8, 2021. It’s crucial that these patients not be given antibiotics, since that treatment can increase the risk that the person will develop hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a complication of a STEC infection that is a type of kidney failure.

Symptoms of this infection include a mild fever, less than 101°F, vomiting, severe stomach and abdominal cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea that is usually bloody. Some infections are mild, but patients can gt very sick and require hospitalization. Symptoms of HUS include little urine output, lethargy, pale skin, easy bruising, and bleeding from the nose or mouth.

Pritzker Hageman Food Safety Lawyers

If you or a loved one have been sickened with an E. coli infection or HUS and you live in Jackson County, Oregon, please contact our experienced attorneys for help at 1-888-377-8900 or 612-338-0202.

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