E. coli STEC O145 has caused human illness in the past and has been found in our animals and food.
As many as 50 people are now sickened by E. coli O145 in an outbreak in Ohio, Michigan and New York. The Michigan E. coli O145 cases have occurred in Washtenaw County, which includes Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan. In Ohio the outbreak has been confined to Columbus at The Ohio State University. The New York cases appear to be college students attending Daemen College in Buffalo, New York. In re-reading an article about E. coli O145 today, I was struck with how casual the discussion was with prior E. coli illnesses and the risk of E. coli O145 in our food supply:
Strains of STEC O145 isolated from patients with sporadic illness ranked among the top six non-O157 serogroups submitted to the CDC by 43 state public health laboratories between 1983 and 2002, isolated from patients with sporadic illness (Brooks et al., 2005). A case of bloody diarrhea caused by E. coli O145 that led to HUS caused the death of a 22-month-old child in Slovenia (Kraigher et al., 2005). Ground meat eaten a few days before the child became ill was thought to be the most likely cause of the infection. Ice cream contaminated with E. coli O145 was the source of an outbreak of severe diarrhea and HUS in Belgium (De Schrijver et al., 2008). E. coli O145 isolates from patients, from the ice cream, and from samples collected from the farm where the ice cream was produced and sold were indistinguishable. STEC O145 strains have also been isolated from cattle and other food animals and from companion animals (Padola et al., 2002; Schroeder et al., 2002; Garcia and Fox, 2003; Pearce et al., 2004; Krause et al., 2005).