Ranch E. coli Count Reaches 21
Published: Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008
Source of Article:http://www.newsinferno.com/archives/3882
coli outbreak is being investigated, this time in California. The Butte County Public
Health Department confirmed yesterday that it identified three additional cases
of E. coli O157:H7, bringing the total to 21 in that recent outbreak.
There have been four hospitalizations, including one of a young child; some
people became very sick with severe diarrhea.
It seems that the outbreak originated from a
fundraiser held in Forest Ranch on September 6 that was to benefit the
volunteer fire department there. Dr. Mark Lundberg, ButteCounty’s
health officer, said four people who attended the
event became seriously ill following the event that hosted 300-400
people. Health officials believe that tri-tip served at the fundraiser
was contaminated with E. coli bacteria and are now working to determine how the
meat became contaminated. Officials are also testing other foods served
with the tri-tip to determine if those other foods were also contaminated along
with the meat, said Lundberg. Lundberg also said he’s worried that other
people, who fell ill with mild cases of diarrhea-type illnesses, could spread
the illness to others, causing what he called a “secondary outbreak” of the
problem and that these people could spread E. coli to vulnerable communities,
such as the elderly or the very young.
E. coli strain O157:H7 is an extremely virulent,
contagious, and sometimes fatal strain and is typically spread when a person
fails to properly wash his or her hands and then handles food. Once the
food is eaten, the bacteria take hold. E. coli are a group of bacteria
found in animal intestines and feces. Some strains are necessary for
digestion; some are harmful, even deadly, such as the very rare and
toxin-producing strain E. coli O111 that recently made headlines in Oklahoma.
Generally, strain O157:H7 is found to be the culprit in E. coli-related
food-borne illness outbreaks and has been confirmed to be to blame in the
confirmed cases in this outbreak. Both strains are among those E. coli
that may cause serious disease and death and are in a group called Verocytotoxigenic E. coli (VTEC) linked to food
poisoning. VTECs are very serious and can cause
fatal blood poisoning, cystitis, deadly septicemia, and death.
In the US, E. coli is the leading cause of
food-borne illness, accounting for about 73,000 infections and 61 deaths; last
year, over 22 million pounds of beef and vegetables were recalled due to E.
coli outbreaks. And, now, there is growing concern in the scientific
community—not just because of the seeming prevalence of all manner of food
borne illnesses—because instances of drug resistant E. coli are being reported
world-wide and are similar in path to a mutated staph called MRSA, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus
that, when not treated early, is resistant to all but the one antibiotic of
E. coli O157:H7 is to blame in the ongoing and
widening outbreak occurring in Michigan and
strain O111 was to blame in the outbreak in Oklahoma. That outbreak was the
largest such E. coli O111 in American history.