E. coli has been having a busy few weeks throughout the world.
With nearly 4,200 Sickened and at least 50 Dead in E. coli O104:H4 Outbreak in Europe (with some ill here in U.S. too), it might be easy to forget what has been happening here. Here is a sampler:
Idaho – five staff workers at Camp Lutherhaven on Lake Coeur d’Alene tested positive for E. coli this week, but none have required hospitalization. Preliminary tests identified the bacteria in the five staff workers as Shiga Toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) Type 1. Further tests on one specimen indicate that it’s 026, the second most common type of STEC in Idaho.
Alabama – The Alabama Department of Public Health says the E. coli O157:H7 outbreak in Lee County has climbed to 15 illnesses with thirteen children and two adults now ill. Each of the victims either played in the Splash Park or swam in the pool at the Opelika SportsPlex and Aquatic Center between June 4 and June 22, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health, and all have severe gastrointestinal illness.
Tennessee and Virginia – Reporter Mac McLean has been all over this story for weeks, but still has not found the cause of the E. coli outbreak that has sickened 17 and killed one. According to Mac, health officials in Northeast Tennessee and Western Virginia report that 18 people came down with a potentially fatal Escherichia coli infection between May 8 and June 2. Officials with the Virginia Department of Health have found some “similarities” between a potentially fatal strain of Escherichia coli bacteria that’s sickened Western Virginia residents over the past six weeks and one that’s affected people in Northeast Tennessee. “We are seeing some similarities in the strains from Virginia and Tennessee,” VDH spokesman Robert Parker said in an e-mail to the Bristol Herald Courier. “But nothing to link them in terms of transmission … no common source has been identified.”
Texas – Sixteen cases of E. coli O157:H7 in the Killeen, Texas, area have been traced to food served at a Jason’s Deli there in April, according to Bell County health officials. In addition to five confirmed cases there are 11 probable cases, said Christine Mann, spokesman for the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Oklahoma – The Tulsa City-County Health Department said three children have been sickened by E. coli bacteria. Agency spokeswoman Melanie Christian said the department’s lab confirmed the cases in the children, who are under 10 years old. Christian said two of the children were hospitalized but one has gone home.
Louisiana – The Monroe Louisiana Newstar reports that three Ouachita Christian School students were admitted to local hospitals late last week afflicted with a strain of E. coli, according to health officials. Dr. Shelley Jones, Region 8 director of the Department of Health and Hospitals, said Tuesday the students were reportedly attending an end-of-the-year party at a farm. She said the affected students were playing in a mud pit.
Washington – An animal farm located in Everett, Washington has been implicated in a recent outbreak of E. coli among 2 children and 2 adults who recently visited the farm. The Seattle Times reports that the exact strain of E. coli has not yet been determined. The farm is run by the Everett park department and over 25,000 people visit it each year, where people can come into contact with a variety of animals, including sheep, calves, piglets, chickens, goats, ducks, a horse, a pony and rabbits.