E. coli cases up to six
Source of Article: http://www.thehawkeye.com/Story/e-coli-folo6-102908
Apple cider believed to be
source of bacteria.
By DARCIE HOENIG
The number of confirmed E. coli cases in the area has grown to six, and it
appears that unpasteurized apple cider is the culprit.
The Lee and Des Moines
county health departments each confirmed another case of the infection late
last week. There are currently three confirmed cases in Lee
County, two in Des
Moines County and
one in Hancock County, Ill.
Lee County Health Department Administrator Julie Schilling said her
department is not looking into any other possible cases at this time. The
department is still examining the three confirmed cases, she said.
"We are continuing to work with the Iowa Department of Public Health in
our ongoing investigation of the cases," Schilling said.
No businesses or facilities have been asked to shut down in connection to the
cases, officials said.
Patricia Quinlisk, medical director for the Iowa
Department of Public Health, has said the source of a communicable disease
will not be released unless it poses an immediate health risk to the public.
The department has "made recommendations in the last several weeks"
to prevent further cases of the disease, she said.
While state health officials have not disclosed the source of E. coli 0157:H7
in the area, those closest to the cases believe they contracted it from the
The parents of two children who have been battling the bacteria, 5-year-old Kaden Althide of Basco, Ill., and 7-year-old TiAhnna
Bryant of Donnellson, said they believe their children encountered the
disease from the same source during the weekend of Oct. 4.
Pediatric nephrologist Patrick Brophy,
the doctor for both children at the University of Iowa
Children's Hospital, concurred with the
"In Kaden's case, as well as a couple other
kids, they were all at a similar venue, and it looks like they probably had
apple cider that contained the E. coli," Brophy
For more than two weeks, both children have endured almost daily dialysis and
surgeries, blood transfusions and ultrasounds, among other things.
On Tuesday, Kim Althide, Kaden's
mother, said they have seen some improvements in her son's kidney output, but
dialysis treatments are continuing nearly every day.
"We're making baby steps," Althide said.
The Iowa Department of Public Health issued a press release Tuesday
encouraging Iowans to avoid consuming unpasteurized juices and ciders because
they can be linked with outbreaks of disease.
Federal law requires a warning label on raw apple cider that has not been
heat processed, since it can pose a health risk, especially to children who
have weakened immune systems. Pasteurization kills harmful bacteria and
extends the product's shelf life.
Pasteurized products include those packaged in cans, bottles and boxes that
are found unrefrigerated in the grocery store. Unpasteurized products may be
purchased as freshly pressed from local orchards, roadside stands or farmers
markets. They also may be found on ice or in refrigerated display cases and
in produce sections at grocery stores.
"The risk of contracting illness from fresh cider is low," Quinlisk said. "But children, the elderly and those
with a weakened immune system should take special precautions to protect
themselves against any food that could be contaminated."
Raw apple cider should not be served to these individuals, including children
younger than 8.
The following guidelines should be followed to ensure safe apple cider
* Apple cider should be made from whole, fresh apples that have not been
dropped or found on the ground;
* Cider presses and all equipment used to make cider should be washed with a
noncorrosive cleanser and thoroughly dried;
* All cider storage containers should be sanitized with a solution of one
teaspoon of chlorine bleach per one gallon of clean water; and
* Cider should be kept refrigerated at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or cooler.
Cider contaminated with bacteria does not look, smell or taste different from
normal apple cider.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, concerned consumers
can reduce their risk of illness by heating their unpasteurized apple cider
to at least 170 degrees Fahrenheit before drinking. If at any time you
question whether a cider has been treated to destroy harmful bacteria, avoid
For more information about food-borne illnesses, visit www.idph.state.ia.us/adper/illness.asp