October 28, 2016

E. coli Outbreak at Washington County Fair; Is This Common?

The E. coli outbreak that may be associated with the Washington County Fair in Oregon raises questions about the safety of county and state fairs. At least two people are sick in that outbreak. There have been several serious outbreaks linked to those types of events in the past few years. The current outbreak in Oregon may or may not be related to the fair, but public health officials are looking at livestock exhibits at that event. Ruminant animals, such as cows and goats, can harbor E. coli bacteria in their intestines. Those animals will not get sick because they lack the gene for the disease to develop. But those animals shed the pathogenic bacteria in their feces. The bacteria can then get onto the animal's udders, onto their hooves, and onto their coats. When people drink … [Read more...]

E. coli Outbreak Linked to Oak Leaf Farm in CT Grows

The Connecticut State Department of Public Health (DPH) issued an update on the E. coli outbreak linked to Oak Leaf Farm in Lebanon. As of 1:00 p.m. on March 28, 2016, there are 15 confirmed cases of E. coli O157 infection. The number of cases could increase in the next few days. DPH is actively identifying people who were not initially included in the outbreak count. Fourteen of those cases are linked to the farm. The patients range in age from 1 year to 44 years old, with a median age of six. Five patients have been hospitalized, and three are still in the hospital. Two of those hospitalized patients have been diagnosed with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Children are most susceptible to this complication of an E. coli infection, but the report did not state how old those patients … [Read more...]

National Zoo Under Quarantine for E. coli Discovery

The Smithsonian's National Zoo has temporarily closed the Kids' Farm exhibit, which is essentially a petting zoo, because E. coli bacteria were found in some of the animals. No staff have been sickened and no animals are showing any signs of disease, according to the press release, but animals generally do not get sick from this type of bacteria. Veterinarians found the E. coli stx 1 gene bacteria in goats through a routine fecal screening process on February 18, 2016. The goats were moved into the barn and kept away from other animals and from visitors. More cultures were performed on February 22, 2016. On February 26, 2016, results revealed that four goats and one cow were positive for the bacteria. The Kids' farm was immediately quarantined. All farm animals are being treated with … [Read more...]

Toddlers in Maine Sickened by Same Strain of E. coli

The E. coli bacteria that sickened two Maine children after visiting the Oxford County fair have the same genetic fingerprint, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control. One of those little boys died last week. The strain is E. coli O111, one of the Shiga toxin-producing bacteria found in ruminant animals. The second child is recuperating from hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) and is undergoing dialysis and blood transfusions. Both children were at the petting barn at the fair in September 2015. Noted food safety attorney Fred Pritzker said, "no child should get so sick and die just because they attended a fair with their families." State Epidemiologist Dr. Siri Bennett said at a press conference, "The strain and the molecular typing from each patient is identical, making it … [Read more...]

Oxford County Fair E. coli Outbreak: Hand Sanitizers Were Empty

The father of Colton Guay, the 20-month-old boy who died from an E. coli infection he contracted at the Oxford County Fair, told WMTW that hand sanitizer dispensers at the fair were empty. The family used their own hand sanitizers, "but look what happened," he told the station. Little Colton was one of two young boys who got E. coli infections after attending the fair. Both of them developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS),  a complication of E. coli infections that causes kidney failure, seizure, stroke, coma and death. Myles Herschaft, 17 months, remains hospitalized at the Maine Medical Center. State health officials said both boys were sickened by the same strain of E. coli O111 - meaning their infections came from the same source. It is not yet known if that source was the … [Read more...]

One Child Dies, Another Sick in Maine E. coli Oxford County Fair Outbreak

A child has died and another is seriously ill in an E. coli outbreak that may be associated with the Oxford county fair in Maine. The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating this outbreak along with officials from the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry and state veterinarians. Both children attended the fair last month. Public health officials are investigating the fair and taking samples from animal exhibits and other venus. Little Colton Guay died after developing hemolytic uremic syndrome a week after attending the fair according to the Boston Globe. HUS is a serious complication of an E. coli infection that attacks the kidneys and can cause strokes, seizures, and kidney failure. The 21-month-old was in his stroller when the family visited … [Read more...]

It’s State Fair Time! Watch Out for E. Coli …

State fairs around the country are in full swing. Some have ended, and some have yet to begin. These gatherings are celebrations of the harvest and of the hard work of farmers. But in the past, these fairs and other late summer and early fall gatherings have been the source of dangerous E. coli outbreaks. Last year, an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to the traveling Zerebko Zoo Tran petting zoo sickened at least 13 people. The fair traveled to the Rice County Fair, the Nashwauk 4th of July Festival, the Polk Country Fair, and the Olmsted County Fair. In 2013, an outbreak in September sickened three children Kentucky and Indiana after they visited Huber's Orchard in Starlight, Indiana. All three children had to be hospitalized as a result of their illnesses. In October 2013, three … [Read more...]

North Dakota E. coli Outbreak at Red River Valley Fair

An E. coli outbreak at the Red River Valley Fair in West Fargo is being investigated by the North Dakota Department of Health. Three children, all under the age of 18, are sick with this bacteria. The fair was held July 7 through July 12, 2015. One of the children has been diagnosed with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a serious complication of a shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) infection. With HUS, red blood cells are damaged by shiga toxins. Those faulty cells then travel to the kidneys and cause damage that can lead to kidney failure. Michelle Feist, an epidemiologist with the Division of Disease Control said in a statement, "we are in the early stages of this investigation and are asking people who become sick with diarrhea or bloody diarrhea for more than 24 hours, … [Read more...]

Milk Makers Fest E. coli Patient Still Hospitalized

Organizers of the Milk Makers Fest in Lynden, Washington, said one of the 45 case patients in an E. coli outbreak associated with the annual schools event remained hospitalized this week at St. Joseph Hospital in Bellingham. All together there have been eight hospitalizations among a case patient population dominated by first-graders from public schools throughout Whatcom County, including schools in Bellingham, Lynden, Ferndale, Meridian, Blaine, Nooksack Valley and Mount Baker. E. coli lawyers, medical experts, infectious disease investigators and a growing number of parents suspect the cause of  the outbreak could be related to animal feces at the event's petting zoo or around other live animals on exhibit at the Milk Makers Fest. Still, officials from the Centers for Disease Control … [Read more...]

Parents Weigh Legal Options to Address Milk Makers Fest E. coli

Already emerging in discussions about a possible Milk Makers Fest E. coli lawsuit is whether adequate safeguards were in place to protect Whatcom County first-graders from E. coli poisoning that many experts are hypothesizing was linked to the Fest's animal exhibits and petting zoo. As the E. coli outbreak investigation continues, officials have identified 36 case patients, including sick children whose lab results are pending. At least five of the children have been hospitalized and the elementary schools around Bellingham, Blaine, Ferndale, Lynden and other  Whatcom County communities are trying to find out what went wrong. Meanwhile, some parents of sick first-graders are contacting E. coli lawyers to weigh legal options that best suit the interests of their families. “We want … [Read more...]

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