E. coli O157:H7 has sickened at least three people, and likely more, in an outbreak that the Huron County Health Department and State of Michigan are trying to figure out. According to a press release from Huron County, the three confirmed cases have all tested positive for the same strain of E. coli O157:H7, and another person has tested positive as well, but officials are waiting for results of laboratory testing to determine whether the fourth case’s E. coli infection matches the other three. A fifth individual tested negative, but symptoms were apparently consistent with infection by E. coli O157:H7. Three of the ill people remain hospitalized, though it has not been announced whether those three people have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, or HUS.
Cindy Rochefort, Huron County Health Services Director, said the source of the infections has not been found, and the heath department will share the information with the community if the source is identified.
Michigan is, of course, no stranger to E. coli O157 (and other shiga-toxin producing strains). In the E. coli O145 outbreak linked to Freshway lettuce in April 2010, at least 11 Michigan residents were sickened. Michigan residents were also sickened in the infamousE. coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to Dole baby spinach in September 2006. More recently, 26 Michigan residents were sickened in an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to iceburg lettuce grown by Santa Barbara Farms and distributed by Aunt Mid’s produce company. And Michigan residents were also sickened in the summer 2008 E. coli outbreak and recall linked to ground beef manufactured by Nebraska Beef, including a woman who died.