HolidayMudPit.JPGThe 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.

“Four students were admitted to the hospital,” Jones said. “Three tested positive for E. coli symptoms.”

Jones said samples were taken from the students and were being analyzed. She said results could be available Wednesday.

Jones said the strain of E. coli was known as Escherichia coli O157:H7, which is an enterohemorrhagic strain of the bacterium Escherichia coli and a cause of foodborne illness.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, infection of this strain often leads to hemorrhagic diarrhea, and occasionally to kidney failure, especially in young children and elderly. Transmission is via the fecal-oral route, and most illness has been associated with eating undercooked, contaminated ground beef, swimming in or drinking contaminated water, and eating contaminated vegetables.