Date Published: Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008
Source of Article: http://www.newsinferno.com/archives/3752
The deadly E.
coli outbreak in
Late last week, the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality released test results indicating that potentially harmful bacteria were found in well water at Country Cottage. Although Country Cottage typically operated on city water, it temporarily switched to its private well on August 10 after a city water line broke. Tests on bacteria found in well water samples confirmed that the water could be unhealthy and could contain E. coli; however, the state Health Department confirmed no E. coli strains were present there.
E. coli are a group of bacteria found in
animal intestines and feces. Some strains are necessary for digestion;
some are harmful, even deadly. The Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identified a very rare and
toxin-producing strain of E. coli—E. coli O111—in stool samples taken from
victims of this outbreak. According to the state Health Department, E.
coli O111 has only been “implicated in three other disease outbreaks in the
Regarding Country Cottage, Health
Department spokeswoman Leslea Bennett-Webb said,
“We’re looking at the counters, the food preparation areas, the buffet area,
and we’ve taken swabs of those areas to see if there’s any E. coli O111
contamination.” State epidemiologist Dr. Kristy Bradley also said, “The
complexity of this outbreak and the necessity to be extremely thorough in our
investigation means we still have more questions than answers.” According
to Oklahoma State Department of Health records, less than 50 cases of E. coli
have occurred in
According to the Associated Press (AP), Sheila Beaver and her family—including her 19-month old daughter, Braylee—ate at Country Cottage August 19. Braylee developed a fever and severe diarrhea, was placed on 24-hour dialysis for three days, and remains hospitalized. Beaver criticized state health officials for not shutting down the restaurant after the first illnesses were reported to the health department on August 22.
The AP also reported that during an August 23 surprise inspection nine health code violations were identified. Despite this, Country Cottage remained open on August 24, the day the one related death occurred. “Once there were so many people who were sick that had eaten at Country Cottage, I think they should have at least shut it down,” Beaver said. “When it’s people’s lives at stake, they should shut things down. This is a serious disease.”
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