What is the link, if any, to E. coli O26 cases in Pennsylvania, Georgia, California, West Virginia, Missouri and Michigan?

WBNG News reported that as of last week the Broome County Health Department had reported two cases of E. coli from late last month.

For 3-year-old Anthony Martin, who was one of the two confirmed cases, his family said it could have been much worse.  The night after swimming in Nathaniel Cole Park, Cassandra Martin’s son complained of a stomachache.

“It was heart breaking. I mean he was in so much pain he’d curl up in a ball grabbing his stomach and crying and at one point, he tells me he wants me to help him and I didn’t know how. It was just heartbreaking,” said Martin.  He ended up going to two emergency rooms. His stool was tested and doctors discovered he had E. coli

And yesterday WBNG News reported that the two cases of E. coli have been confirmed in Broome County, and three more are now under investigation by the health department, which is trying to determine whether the new cases are linked to those previously connected to Nathaniel Cole Park.

“We have seen three additional cases in Broome County. Some have nothing to do with Cole Park and some have something to do with Cole Park,” said Public Health Director Claudia Edwards.

The health department is still waiting to hear whether those cases are linked to Cole Park and if they are the same strain, which has been found to be E. coli O26, Edwards said.

That’s the strain that’s been hitting the Southern Tier and eight other states, including Pennsylvania, Georgia, California, West Virginia, Missouri and Michigan.

“It could be contaminated hamburger meat, it could be contaminated lettuce, it could be poor hand washing. Once a person is infected there’s a high chance of infecting other family members,” Edwards said.