July 28, 2021

Adult STEC HUS Disease More Serious and Fatal Than in Children

A new study published in Emerging Infectious Diseases has found that adult STEC HUS disease is more serious and fatal than the same disease in children, even though children are far more likely to develop this complication after an E. coli infection. The retrospective study looked at Shiga toxin-associated hemolytic uremic syndrome in 96 adults who lived in France from 2009 to 2017. The researchers found that 20% of adults in France who had STEC HUS disease died during hospitalization, while less than one percent of children who had STEC-associated HUS died  during the same years. The deaths were concentrated in the age group of 60+ years. Furthermore, adults had cerebral involvement three times more often than children. More than 52% of adult patients had severe neurologic … [Read more...]

Maine CDC Warns of Possible E. coli Exposure at Morse’s Sauerkraut

Various news outlets are reporting that the Maine CDC says that there is a possible E. coli exposure at Morse's Sauerkraut located in Waldoboro, Maine. A food handler allegedly worked while infected with Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) from April 1, 2021 through May 13, 2021. The government has determined that patrons of that facility may be at risk for a STEC infection. Anyone who bought deli items from Morse's Sauerkraut between April 1, 2021 and May 13, 2021 should watch for symptoms of this infection. Symptoms usually develop a few days after exposure, but can show up as late as 10 days later. People usually experience a mild fever, nausea and vomiting, severe and painful abdominal and stomach cramps, and diarrhea that is bloody or watery. The Maine CDC recommends that … [Read more...]

How Do You Know If You Have Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome?

Hemolytic uremic syndrome can be a complication of a Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) infection that is a type of kidney failure. People who develop this condition often need dialysis and may even need kidney transplants. They can also suffer seizures. This condition can be life-threatening. Other causes of this condition include taking certain medications, having other types of infections, and inheriting a type of HUS that runs in families. In the group which has developed HUS after an E. coli infection, most are under the age of five. Among children younger than 18 who develop hemolytic uremic syndrome, about 80% have had STEC infections. About 5 to 10% of patients who contract STEC infections develop HUS. All patients with HUS should be hospitalized so their condition and … [Read more...]

Two E. coli Cases in Snohomish County, Washington Added to King County

Two E. coli cases in Snohomish County, Washington state, have been identified, according to a press release from the Snohomish Health District. These cases, in a 20-year-old woman and a 10-year-old child, are apparently connected to the seven children who are sick with Shiga Toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) infections in King County, Washington. The child has been hospitalized, but no further information about him or her has been shared with the public for patient privacy considerations. Dr. Chris Spitters, Health Information Officer for the Snohomish Health District, said in a statement, "The exact source of E. coli contamination can be difficult to pinpoint, but public health interviews lead us to believe the cases may be linked to eating fresh produce. While we continue working … [Read more...]

Seven Children Sick in E. coli Outbreak in King County, Washington State

According to a notice posted by the King County Public Health Department, there are seven children sick in an E. coli outbreak in King County. All are under the age of 14, and three  children are under the age of five. Six of the children have been hospitalized. The source of the pathogen has not yet been determined. This new E. coli outbreak in King County has illness onset dates ranging from April 17, 2021 to April 29, 2021. The cases were reported to government officials between April 22, 2021 and May 1, 2021. The investigation is ongoing. Officials have not identified any restaurants, foods, or other sources in common among all of these cases. In fact, investigators do not know if the patients even share the same source of the pathogen. All seven children developed the … [Read more...]

Forty Leafy Greens STEC Outbreaks Occurring During 2009 to 2018

The October 2020 issue of the CDC's Emerging Infectious Diseases has a study about E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks from 2009 to 2018 and found that there were forty leafy greens STEC outbreaks during that time frame. STEC is Shiga toxin-producing E. coli bacteria, most often E. coli O157:H7. Those outbreaks caused 1,212 illnesses, 77 cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), and eight deaths. More of those outbreaks were linked to romaine lettuce than any other type of leafy green. Forty-five percent of those outbreaks occurred in the fall, and 28% occurred in the spring. Leafy greens are the second most common source of foodborne STEC outbreaks, after ground beef. The connection between those two products is that cattle are considered the major reservoir for the pathogen, and STEC … [Read more...]

What Are the Symptoms of Common Foodborne Pathogens?

Since 48,000,000 Americans are sickened with food poisoning every year, which hospitalizes 128,000 and kills about 3,000, consumers should know the symptoms of these illnesses so they can get prompt treatment. There are 31 different pathogens that are known to cause foodborne illness, but the three most common are Salmonella, Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC), and Listeria monocytogenes. What are the symptoms of common foodborne pathogens? Salmonella Symptoms Symptoms of a Salmonella food poisoning illness include a mild fever, a headache, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea that may be bloody. Symptoms usually start 12 to 72 hours after ingestion of the pathogen. Most people do recover on their own without medical treatment, which is why food safety experts use … [Read more...]

E. coli Outbreak at Acapulco Mexican Restaurant in Andover, MN

An E. coli outbreak at the Acapulco Mexican Restaurant in Andover, Minnesota has been confirmed by Doug Schultz, Information and Communications Officer for the Minnesota Department of Health. He said, "We are investigating a cluster of STEC cases that ate at the Andover location." That restaurant is located at 13753 Ibis St NW in Andover. The last time an ill person ate at that restaurant was in mid-August, 2019. The Minnesota Health Department does not consider this outbreak to be an ongoing situation. Dana Eikmeier, the epidemiologist working on this outbreak, told us that three adults were sickened. One was hospitalized, and no one developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). She also said it's likely that the DOH won't find the suspect food, since the case count was so … [Read more...]

Lawyer Asks: Why Are There Ground Beef E. coli Outbreaks?

One April, 2019 morning, amidst the ongoing ground beef E. coli O103 outbreak affecting much of the east-central United States, one of the attorneys on the foodborne illness team at the Pritzker Hageman law firm began her weekly meal preparation ritual. She went to her freezer and grabbed two pounds of frozen ground beef, defrosted it, and put it in a frying pan to brown. She has said her family of four goes through so much ground beef that she regularly fill my freezer with a “quarter of beef” raised by her father and processed by a local butcher shop. Her family "lives on it". In the U.S., a family’s subsistence on ground beef is not uncommon. For 2018, Americans were projected to eat 222.2 pounds of meat and poultry, each. According to the self-proclaimed “best information … [Read more...]

How is Ground Beef Contaminated with E. coli Bacteria?

E. coli outbreaks are typically associated with certain foods. There have been Shiga toxin-producing E. coli outbreaks linked to raw milk, raw sprouts, ground beef, and leafy greens in the past few years. A 2015 study found that most E. coli outbreaks are linked to beef. But how is ground beef contaminated with E. coli bacteria? The type of E. coli bacteria that causes serious human illness is called Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC). That means the bacteria make a toxin that makes you very sick when it gets into your bloodstream. The government classifies these pathogens into two main groups: E. coli O157:H7, and the non-O157 serogroup, which includes E. coli O26, O111, O103, O121, and O145. All together, those six account for 75% of all STEC infections in the U.S. So how … [Read more...]

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