Jackson County Public Health is investigating an unusually high number of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) cases. Since August 8, 2021, 16 cases have been reported to Jackson County, and 12 (75%) of these cases have been hospitalized.

Jackson County Public Health is working with the Oregon Health Authority on this outbreak investigation.  “Right now, we do not have a definitive hypothesis on what the source of infection may be. The genome sequencing, performed at the state public health lab, has not matched any other cases in the state or nationally,” states Dr. Jim Shames, Health Officer for Jackson County Public Health. “Therefore, we continue to do in-depth interviews with those that have tested positive to help us identify a possible source of exposure.”

Jackson County Public Health is asking medical providers to be aware of the increases in STEC cases in Jackson County and collect and test stool specimens on patients suspected to have bacterial gastroenteritis. Shiga-toxigenic Escherichia coli (including 0157, HUS, and other serogroups) are reportable infections to local and state public health.

Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria normally live in the intestines of people and animals. Most E. coli are harmless and actually are an important part of a healthy human intestinal tract. However, some E. coli are pathogenic, meaning they can cause illness, either diarrhea or illness outside of the intestinal tract. The types of E. coli that can cause diarrhea can be transmitted through contaminated water or food, or through contact with animals or persons. Some kinds of E. coli cause disease by making a toxin called Shiga toxin. The bacteria that make these toxins are called “Shiga toxin-producing” E. coli, or STEC for short. This pathotype is the one most commonly heard about in the news in association with foodborne outbreaks.

There are everyday steps that can help you prevent E. coli infections:

  • Practice good overall hygiene with special attention to good handwashing.
  • Wash your hands after touching animals or their environments.
  • Keep what you eat and drink away from animals.
  • Cook meats thoroughly. Prevent raw meat from contacting other food. Do this by washing hands, utensils, cutting boards and surfaces after use to prepare meat.
  • Avoid consuming raw and unpasteurized dairy and juice products.
  • Avoid school and childcare attendance, food handling and patient care if you are ill. People with diarrhea should not go to school or child care, handle food, or care for patients.

Symptoms of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) infection vary for each person, but often include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea (often bloody), and vomiting. Some people may have a fever, which usually is not very high (less than 101˚F/38.5˚C). Most people get better within 5 to 7 days. Some infections are very mild, but others are severe or even life-threatening.

Most people with a STEC infection start feeling sick 3 to 4 days after eating or drinking something that contains the bacteria. However, illnesses can start anywhere from 1 to 10 days after exposure. Contact your healthcare provider if you have diarrhea that lasts for more than 3 days or diarrhea that is accompanied by a fever higher than 102˚F, bloody diarrhea, or so much vomiting that you cannot keep liquids down and you pass very little urine.

About 5 to 10% of people who are diagnosed with STEC infection develop a potentially life-threatening complication known as hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). HUS develops about 7 days after symptoms first appear, when diarrhea is improving. Clues that someone is developing HUS include decreased frequency of urination, feeling very tired, and losing pink color in cheeks and inside the lower eyelids. People with HUS should be hospitalized because their kidneys may stop working and they may develop other serious problems. Most people with HUS recover within a few weeks, but some suffer permanent damage or die.

PRESS RELEASE

Since the outbreak was announced, Marler Clark has been contacted by families of two Mississippi children who remain hospitalized due to acute kidney failure and the families of Alabama and Louisiana children also stricken by E. coli O157:H7.  We have filed 2 lawsuits in Louisiana and Mississippi – others will be filed this week.

On August 9th, the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) announced it had identified several cases of E. coli O157 infection associated with use of the swimming pool and/or splashpad at the Jellystone Park Camp Resort-Yogi on the Lake in Pelahatchie, Miss.

The cases identified so far have exposure dates on the weekend of July 30th through August 1st, but additional exposures may have occurred through August 9, 2021. The pool and splashpad were closed on August 9, 2021.

This is an evolving situation and MSDH is conducting an ongoing investigation to identify any additional cases.

Individuals who were swimming in the pool or splashpad at Yogi on the Lake in Pelahatchie between July 30 and August 9 should monitor for symptoms of stomach cramps, diarrhea, vomiting and fever. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you do have symptoms and tell your provider about your exposure.

First Federal E. coli Lawsuit – 2021.8.17_Braud v. Great Escapes

Second State Court E. coli Lawsuit – [2] Complaint – Neely

Four cases of a toxin producing the bacteria and one case of a resultant blood syndrome stemmed from customers eating at the Portillo’s at 235 E. North Ave. in Glendale Heights on July 16 and 17, IDPH wrote in a health alert.

The “possible issue” came from four customers during that time period, Portillo’s spokeswoman Sara Wirth wrote in a Saturday statement. She said the company reexamined its food safety protocols after learning of the outbreak.

“Across Portillo’s, we have extensive sanitary and food handling guidelines in place, including daily deep cleanings of all restaurants,” Wirth said. “Once notified, we moved quickly and began assisting with the investigation and revisiting our food safety best practices with our team members to mitigate potential future risk.”

The health department is urging doctors to consider an E. coli diagnosis in symptomatic patients who have recently eaten at the location.

With an average incubation period of one to 10 days, the condition can include cramps and diarrhea and, in children and older adults, kidney failure and red blood cell destruction, IDPH said.

As of July 27, 2021, 16 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O121 have been reported from 12 states. Illnesses started on dates ranging from February 26, 2021 to June 21, 2021.

Sick people range in age from 2 to 73 years, with a median age of 13, and 100% are female. Of 16 people with information available, 7 have been hospitalized. One person has developed a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), and no deaths have been reported.

State and local public health officials are interviewing people about the foods they ate in the week before they got sick. Of the eight people interviewed, six (75%) reported tasting or eating raw batter made with a cake mix. People reported buying different varieties and brands of cake mix.

FDA is conducting a traceback investigation using purchase records from locations where sick people bought cake mix to try to determine a common cake mix brand or production facility.

CDC advises people not to eat raw cake batter, whether made from a mix or homemade. Eating raw cake batter can make you sick. Raw cake batter can contain harmful bacteriaBacteria are killed only when raw batter is baked or cooked.

Food Safety News reports that the CDC is working with other public health agencies to investigate an 11-state outbreak of E. Coli O121 infections.

As of July 15 a total of 15 patients had been confirmed with infections, a CDC spokesperson told Food Safety News. No other information from the agency was available for release.

The Food and Drug Administration reported on July 14 that it was investigating an E. Coli O121 outbreak involving 15 patients, but the agency did not release any other details except to say that no traceback or sample testing had been initiated.

Few details were available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We are working to determine a source of the infections. If we identify a source and an ongoing risk to the public, we will issue an outbreak notice,” the CDC spokesperson told Food Safety News.

Food Safety News reports that the CDC is working with other public health agencies to investigate an 11-state outbreak of E. Coli O121 infections.

As of July 15 a total of 15 patients had been confirmed with infections, a CDC spokesperson told Food Safety News. No other information from the agency was available for release.

The Food and Drug Administration reported on July 14 that it was investigating an E. Coli O121 outbreak involving 15 patients, but the agency did not release any other details except to say that no traceback or sample testing had been initiated.

Few details were available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We are working to determine a source of the infections. If we identify a source and an ongoing risk to the public, we will issue an outbreak notice,” the CDC spokesperson told Food Safety News.

Olivia Garrett of the Telegraph Herald reports:

MAQUOKETA, Iowa — Several Maquoketa children are receiving care at University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital in Iowa City after developing serious complications from E. coli.

But local health officials have not yet identified the source.

Multiple Maquoketa children developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, prompting the treatment in Iowa City. HUS is a serious complication that can be caused by shiga toxin-producing E. coli, also known as STEC.

The Jackson County Health Department, through Genesis VNA, is working to determine what might have caused the outbreak. Community Health Manager Michele Cullen said Monday that this process involves contact tracing, but a source has not yet been identified.

Two-year-old Calvin “Cal” Notz is one of the children suffering from the rare and serious illness.

His mother, Nichole Notz, said it started on May 21, when Cal was tired and wouldn’t eat. By May 23, more concerning symptoms had emerged, including bloody and loose stools.

“That’s when we knew it was something more than just a little bug,” Notz said.

Cal’s parents took him to urgent care, where he was quickly sent to the hospital. On May 25, Cal was transferred to the Iowa City hospital for more specialized care. Cal suffered from seizures and a stroke and was placed in a medically induced coma, Notz said.

“He is improving at this point now,” Notz said Monday. “He is coming off the coma. … Today, he is doing well.”

According to the Blue Mountain Eagle:

Members of the Maquoketa community gathered June 2 at the Grove Street Park for a prayer vigil to support Cal Notz and Briella Davis, two children stricken with a rare kidney illness caused by E. coli.

Tara Notz, the sister-in-law of Cal’s parents Matt and Nichole Notz, welcomed people and thanked everyone on behalf of the family for their prayers and support and for attending the vigil, which included singing and prayers led by Pastor Nathan Combs of Prairie Creek Church.

“We want people to know our hearts are so full,” Nichole Notz said during a phone call after the vigil. “We are feeling everyone’s love, prayers and well-wishes. We love Maquoketa and being back in our home town. The support we’ve felt just confirms we are supposed to be here. We are so blessed.” 

Maggie Ward and Caleb Davis, Briella’s parents, also expressed their thanks to the community for its support.

“It has been so heartwarming. We appreciate all the messages and offers to help in any way,” Ward said.

Since the vigil, a third child, Shane Howell, also has been diagnosed with the same illness. All three children are being treated at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital.

According to Nancy Mayfield of the Maquoketa Sentinel-Press:

Jessi Howell’s motherly instincts kicked in when she noticed her 12-year-old son Shane wasn’t acting quite like himself.

 “I would like to share with everyone to never second guess their instincts,” she said to the Sentinel-Press via Messenger Friday. Shane is one of three Maquoketa children hospitalized at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital with complications from a rare strain of E. coli.

“We knew something wasn’t right. Shane doesn’t like to complain about anything and doesn’t like going to doctors for even simple routine visits. When he stopped being his normal 12-year-old self and didn’t have a football in his hands, we knew it was bad, but we never could have dreamed of just how bad it was about to get,” she said.

His parents quickly got him medical attention. Shane is currently on dialysis as he battles Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS), a rare complication that can occur with a shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) infection. Briella Davis, 18 months, and Cal Notz, 2, both from Maquoketa, are also at the children’s hospital battling the same illness.

The parents of the three hospitalized children have been keeping friends and family updated through Facebook posts, from which they gave the Sentinel-Press permission to share information. They also have shared information with the newspaper via texts, phone calls and messenger.

Briella is progressing well, and her dialysis stopped earlier this week, said her mother, Maggie Ward, via text late Friday afternoon.

“She just got moved out of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit to inpatient a few hours ago,” she wrote.

Howell reported Friday that Shane was still on dialysis and was able to take a small walk and about five laps around the children’s unit in a wheelchair. On Saturday morning she said she expected him to be moved from intensive care later in the day.

Cal’s condition is more serious, and he was in a medically induced coma due to seizures and receiving dialysis, his mother, Nichole Notz, reported. On Saturday morning, the family reported on the Facebook page Prayers for Cal that he had had a stable night with no seizures.

All three families are thankful for the community support and prayers, the mothers said.

On May 12, 2021, The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) announced a multi-county outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 that began as a Public Health-Seattle & King County investigation involving several children with E. coli. The outbreak is likely linked to PCC Community Market brand yogurt produced by Pure Eire Dairy.

Public health message

If you have PCC Community Market brand yogurt or Pure Eire yogurt at home, do not eat it and throw it away.

E. coli infections can cause serious complications. Symptoms include diarrhea, stomach cramps and blood in the stool.

If you notice symptoms, especially bloody diarrhea, contact your health care provider right away.

Case information

DOH is reporting confirmed cases infected with bacteria that have been genetically linked. Local health jurisdictions may report higher numbers for their counties that include cases still under investigation and may provide additional detail on their cases.

Linked product information

On May 15, DOH announced a likely link to PCC Community Market brand yogurt produced by Pure Eire Dairy. Pure Eire Dairy issued a voluntary recall of affected products and PCC removed the products from shelves. Anyone who has PCC Community Market or Pure Eire brand yogurt at home should not eat it and should throw it away.

The investigation is ongoing, and we may identify additional links to products as we continue to gather information from new cases. DOH will provide updates as the investigation progresses.

OLYMPIA – During the ongoing investigation into an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) has identified a likely link to PCC Community Market brand yogurt produced by Pure Eire Dairy.

Pure Eire Dairy is working with the state Department of Agriculture to identify and recall all affected products. Anyone who has PCC Community Market brand yogurt at home should not eat it and should throw it away.

The outbreak now includes 11 confirmed cases, including six children under the age of 10, infected with bacteria that have been genetically linked. Counties with cases include Benton (1), King (8), Snohomish (1) and Walla Walla (1). Seven people have been hospitalized. Three people have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a serious complication of E. coli infection.

Symptoms of an E. coli infection include diarrhea, stomach cramps and blood in the stool. There is usually no fever. If you notice symptoms, especially bloody diarrhea, contact your health care provider right away. E. coli O157:H7 infections can cause serious complications.

DOH and partner agencies are continuing to test food samples and gather case information in this ongoing investigation. DOH will provide more information as it becomes available.

The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) is working with local health jurisdictions to respond to a multi-county outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 that may be linked to fresh produce.

The outbreak currently includes six confirmed cases across Benton County (1), King County (3), Snohomish County (1) and Walla Walla County (1). DOH is only reporting confirmed cases infected with bacteria that have been genetically linked, but local health officials may report higher numbers for their counties that include cases still under investigation.

There is one case in the outbreak between ages 0-9, two cases age 10-19, one case age 20-29, one age 30-39, and one case age 70-79. Three cases have been hospitalized and one case developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). HUS is a serious complication of E. coli O157:H7 infection that can damage the kidneys and other organs. The earliest case in the outbreak started having symptoms March 9, and the most recent case had symptoms starting April 21.

The Snohomish Health District announced Tuesday evening that it has identified two cases of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) in Snohomish County residents. Following public health interviews, these cases do appear to be connected to a cluster of STEC cases among seven children in King County.

The local cases involve a woman in her 20s and a child under 10 years of age from separate households. The child has been hospitalized, but no further information will be shared on the cases due to patient privacy.

Seattle King County Public Health is investigating a cluster of seven children infected with Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (also known as STEC) in King County. All cases are currently under 15 years of age, and three are under 5 years of age. Cases have been reported during April 22–May 1, 2021.

All 7 children developed symptoms consistent with STEC, including diarrhea (often bloody), abdominal cramping, nausea, and vomiting. Illness onsets occurred during April 17–29, 2021. Six children have been hospitalized; this includes two children who developed a type of kidney complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) and both are recovering.

From PCC:

From Pure Eire Dairy Facebook page:
Notice of Recall on our Yogurt Products:
We regret to inform you that we have been contacted by the Washington State Department of Health due to a possible link between our yogurt products (Pure Eire and PCC brands) and possible E. Coli contamination. We are awaiting further testing information. However, out of an abundance of caution we are voluntarily recalling all of our yogurt products and halting yogurt production until further investigations are conducted.