January 27, 2020

Update on Whatcom County, WA Milk Makers Fest E. coli Outbreak

The Whatcom County Health Department updated their investigation into the Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7 outbreak associated with the Milk Makers Fest at the fairgrounds in Lynden, Washington. Investigators are calculating case counts "based on lab-confirmed infection with E. coli O157:H7 and physician-diagnosed cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS)." The latest update, posted May 18, 2015, states that there are 22 confirmed cases. Ten people have been hospitalized. No one has died. Four people have developed HUS. Tests from other sick people are being investigated. The investigation now includes environmental samples taken from the Northwest Fairgrounds, since all of the ill people attended the Milk Makers Fest between April 21 and 23, 2015; helped with the event between … [Read more...]

E. coli HUS Strikes Three Children in Whatcom County, WA

HUS E. coli has infected three children in the Whatcom County, Washington, outbreak linked to a school-sponsored outing to the Milk Makers Festival in Lynden. A new report from the Washington State Department of Health said 15 E. coli cases have been confirmed, more than half of those patients were hospitalized and three have suffered the worst complication possible: HUS kidney failure, also known as hemolytic uremic syndrome. The disease can be fatal in a significant percentage of child cases, but no deaths have been reported in the Milk Makers outbreak. This week's Whatcom County E. coli update is the best accounting yet of how serious the outbreak became after the first school children began to fall ill in late April. More than 1,000 first graders from Bellingham and surrounding area … [Read more...]

Milk Makers Fest Mixed E. Coli and School Children at Fairgrounds

It was the 22nd annual Milk Makers Festival in Whatcom County, Washington, and 25 Lynden High School students helped set up a hay maze to go with a petting zoo, scavenger hunt and activities for younger kids to learn about raising calves and milking cows. When more than 1,300 first graders and their chaperones arrived for the three-day fest at Northwest Fairgrounds late last month, they also were joined by invisible pathogens from animal feces that caused an outbreak of potentially fatal E. coli infections, including a dreaded complication known as HUS E. coli. Lawyers for the childrens' families, scientists from the Whatcom County Health Department, state epidemiologists -- even experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention -- are now trying to determine what went wrong. … [Read more...]

E. coli HUS Outbreak at Whatcom County, WA Updated

The E. coli O157 outbreak associated with the Milk Makers Fest at the Northwest Fairgrounds in Lynden, Whatcom County, Washington has now sickened 36 people, according to the Health Department. The latest update is 18 positive cases, and 18 probable cases. Five people have been hospitalized; at least some of those have hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a serious complication of an E. coli infection. That is a change of one more new confirmed case, three new probable cases, and one new hospitalization. The positive cases have either those with positive lab tests, or close contact with a positive or presumptive positive case. The probable cases are people with clinical symptoms who were associated with the event, but lab results were either not available or not conducted. The Health … [Read more...]

E. coli Outbreak in Canada: Leafy Greens a Possibility

An E. coli outbreak in Canada has sickened at least 12 people. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, a specific product hasn't been identified as the case of the illnesses, but leafy greens are considered a strong possibility. Those sickened live in: Alberta (9), Saskatchewan (1), Ontario (1), and Newfoundland and Labrador (1). The illness onset dates range from March 13 to March 31, 2015. All of those people are sick with E. coli that have a matching genetic fingerprint. Leafy greens are a possibility and may include kale, spinach, arugula, or chard. Public health officials in Canada are investigating this outbreak and will announce a source when it has been identified. Whenever there is an outbreak in Canada or the United States, there are sometimes cases in the other … [Read more...]

Parents Need to Know the Signs of an E. coli Infection

Parents are responsible for their children's health. This can sometimes feel overwhelming, but with a little knowledge you can make sure your child gets the best possible care if he gets sick. That's why you need to know the signs of an E. coli infection. Food poisoning is quite common in the United States and around the world. One out of every six people in this country will contract food poisoning this year. So parents need to know the signs of an E. coli infection. Most people think of these infections as the "24 hour flu" and most get better without medical treatment. But thousands get sick enough to be hospitalized, and thousands die from their infections. There are several different kinds of bacteria that cause these illnesses: Salmonella, Campylobacter, Listeria monocytogenes, … [Read more...]

Keep Children Safe at Petting Zoos to Avoid HUS E. coli

HUS E. coli is a life-threatening disease that children can contract from exposure to pathogenc E. coli at petting zoos or other animal exhibits commonly visited in summer and fall by families on outings to apple orchards, pumpkin patches, festivals and fairs. The National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians sets a compendium of safety measures for animal venue operators to follow, but the health of children who touch animals, feed animals or even touch railings or enclosures comes down to handwashing and vigilance supported by the operators. In Minnesota, where state officials have investigated two sizable outbreaks of toxic E. coli infections at petting zoons in the past two years, the state Department of Health has published a Prevention Fact Sheet. It emphasizes two … [Read more...]

E. coli HUS Strikes 3 Children in Hardin County, KY

Three Hardin County, Ky. children are among a group of five who have been hospitalized with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a life-threatening complication of E.coli infections that causes kidney failure, seizure, stroke and coma. The children, who range in age from 18 months to 10 years old, are part of an outbreak that also includes one child from Nelson County and another from Oldham. Hardin and Nelson counties are in the central part of the state. Oldham is northeast of Louisville on the state's border with Indiana. Health authorities have not yet identified a source of the outbreak or determined if the cases may be linked to recent cases in Oregon and Washington. Three Oregon children with E. coli infections were hospitalized with HUS at the beginning of this month. Aubrie … [Read more...]

E. coli Outbreak at Olmsted, Polk and Rice County Fairs (And Many More)

An E. coli outbreak at the Rice County Fair has been linked to outbreaks at other county fairs and festivals during July including the Olmsted County Fair, the Polk County Fair and the Nashwauk 4th of July Festival. The source of the illnesses has been identified as the Zerebko Zoo Tran traveling petting zoo. Petting zoos and animal exhibits at fairs are common source of E.coli outbreaks. In 2012, an E.coli outbreak at the Cleveland County Fair in North Carolina that sickened 106 people. Sixty-four of them were children, one of whom died. In 2011, an E.coli outbreak at the North Carolina State Fair in Raleigh sickened 25 people, four of whom developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) which can cause kidney failure, seizure, stroke and coma. In 2004, a petting zoo at the North Carolina … [Read more...]

E. coli O121: The Bug Behind Jimmy John’s Sprout Outbreak

E. coli O121 is not among the most prevalent types of toxic E. coli by any means, but this pathogenic organism has been traced to two separate multi-state outbreaks of human infections studied closely by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the past 18 months. Most recently, the raw sprout E. coli outbreak in Washington, Idaho, Montana, Utah and Michigan linked to sandwich shops including Jimmy John's. The harmful bacteria infected 18 people who were confirmed as victims of the same outbreak of foodborne illness. Nearly half of all case patients were hospitalized, but no one died. According to the Washington State Department of Health and the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, ill persons reported eating sprouts in sandwiches at several local food establishments, … [Read more...]

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