Over 500 sick: E. coli found in well water at zip line attraction in Tennessee

Tennessee’s Department of Health says testing has confirmed E. coli in well water at a zipline attraction.

The announcement comes after an outbreak of gastrointestinal illness among visitors at CLIMB Works Zipline Canopy Tour, WATE reported.

While tourists continue to enjoy the park, management is working to fix the drinking water.

“I did notice signs not to drink the water. So, I didn’t know if that was something normal everyday or something going on,” LaRie Roe said.

A new filtration system and bottled water for guests have been added. The park is offering refunds for anyone affected with any illness.

Father of Tennessee E. coli victim ‘Nutritionist recommended raw milk’

James Zenker never imagined his young son would battle for his life at just two-years-old.

“It’s affected his kidneys; they shut down,” Zenker said. “It affected his intestines; he couldn’t digest any of his food and its affected his brain — he has a substantial brain injury.”

His son William got E. coli after drinking raw milk linked to French Broad Farm. Zenker said a nutritionist recommended the raw milk to help William fight allergies.

“He’s not able to speak and not able to do the same activities as before he was ill,” Zenker said.

The vast majority of nutritionists, dieticians and physicians I encounter – and it’s frequent with my brain status and trips to emergency – know shit about microbial food safety.

The odd ones do, and they are food safety heros.

But when hospitals continue to serve raw sprouts to immunocompromised people, when they won’t be sold at WalMart in the U.S., I gotta question their food safety credibility.

To reiterate, I stared the Food Safety Network (the original FSN) over 25 years ago as an incoming graduate student in 1993 in the wake of the Jack-in-the-Box outbreak, combining my science and journalism learnings, and because a constant refrain I observed was, I never knew foodborne illness could be so serious.

That’s why I continue to do it as a form of community service (I haven’t been paid since 2016).

Of the 15 children sick with E. coli in Tennessee that has now been linked to consumption of raw milk and contact with ruminants from French Broad Farm, William is the last one left in the hospital. His father said East Tennessee Children’s Hospital saved his son’s life.

The Knox County Health Department said an investigation concluded that the outbreak was caused by two separate sources, the exposure to farm animals and exposure to raw milk.

“While it is rare, it appears we had two sets of children sickened by two different strains of E. coli O157 at the same time. The epidemiological evidence overwhelmingly supported the two-source theory: consumption of raw milk and some type of contact, most likely indirect, with ruminant animals,” said KCHD Director Dr. Martha Buchanan.

William has had several blood transfusions during his recovery and still needs more. His home church Temple Baptist in Powell (no relation – dp) hosted a replacement drive Tuesday for William and the community.

“It’s so encouraging to see people take time out of their busy day and donate from their own life to help Will and others affected by E. coli,” Zenker said.

If you would like more information about future blood drives click here: 
Blood drives scheduled to help children infected with E. coli.

Over 500 reports of gastrointestinal illness at Tennessee zip line attraction

The Tennessee Department of Health says it is investigating an outbreak of gastrointestinal illness among visitors to a zip line attraction in Sevier County.

Health officials say they have received reports of more than 500 cases of gastrointestinal illnesses including diarrhea and vomiting from people from multiple states who visited CLIMB Works Zipline Canopy Tour since mid-June 2018.

State and local health investigators are working with the company to identify additional cases, what caused the illnesses and keep more people from getting sick.

State health officials say CLIMB Works has taken appropriate steps and closed temporarily, but has resumed routine operations.

The East Tennessee Regional Health Department says it has taken samples of well water, but the tests are not back yet. A manager at CLIMB Works says they’re not sure what’s causing the illnesses, but they have stopped using and distributing water at the attraction.

Cilmb Works Manager, Brian Turley, says 108 visitors called the business directly to report sickness. He says most of them called, not for a refund, but to inform the business of potential issues. 

Turley says they are offering refunds for anyone affected with illness. 

Speaking with WATE 6 On Your Side, Turley shared a message for visitors:

“We are so sorry. We obviously had no idea or we never would have never let you [visitors] drink our water. We had no idea. It’s so frustrating it wasn’t something we didn’t catch sooner,” said Turley.

Raw is risky: ‘Not aware this was remotely possible’ Father of toddlers critically sickened by E. coli linked to raw milk in Tenn.

I started the Food Safety Network (the original FSN) as an incoming graduate student in 1993 in the wake of the Jack-in-the-Box outbreak, combining my science and journalism learnings, and because a constant refrain I observed was, I never knew foodborne illness could be so serious.

That’s why I continue to do it as a form of community service (I haven’t been paid since 2016).

There are now at least 15 children sick with E. coli in Tennessee that has now been linked to consumption of raw milk from French Broad Farm.

According to Kristi L Nelson of Knox News, Jordan and Stephanie Schiding wanted to give their children every health advantage.

That’s the reason the Schidings, two months ago, signed up for a local cow-share program after they read about the health benefits of unpasteurized milk.

Instead, 18-month-old Genevieve and 3-year-old Anthony contracted an illness caused by E. coli bacteria and ended up with kidney failure in the pediatric intensive care unit at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital — two of 12 local children hospitalized with E. coli since the end of May.

Knox County Health Department staff told the Schidings the E. coli infection was likely linked to the consumption of raw milk from French Broad Farm. On Thursday, the health department lifted its directive that requested French Broad Farm temporarily cease operations. But health department Director Dr. Martha Buchanan reiterated that consuming raw milk is always risky and health officials recommend the public consume only pasteurized milk and dairy products.

Jordan Schiding said he and his wife knew there was “potential” for food poisoning from unpasteurized milk, which both adults drank with seemingly no serious effects, but “we were definitely not aware that anything like this was remotely possible.”

The Schiding children seem to have turned a corner, he said, with Anthony discharged Friday afternoon and Genevieve still hospitalized but out of intensive care.

But what started as a supposed stomach bug May 31 turned into a terrifying experience that traumatized both the children and their parents, who had to watch them suffer.

Schiding said the family brought Genevieve to the emergency room at Children’s Hospital May 31 after she became seriously dehydrated with diarrhea and vomiting. As she was being admitted, Anthony also began vomiting.

The hospital rehydrated the children and discharged them a few hours later. Schiding believes they were among the first children related to the current cluster of E. coli cases to come to Children’s Hospital.

Two days later, after both children continued to get sicker, the Schidings brought them back to the hospital. This time, hospital staff took a stool sample from Genevieve, which tested positive for E. coli, and then from Anthony, who also tested positive. Both children were admitted, and Knox County Health Department contacted the couple the next day, he said.

The Schidings knew little about E. coli; certain strains produce a toxin, Shiga, that can cause a chain of reactions in the body — hemolytic uremic syndrome — resulting in clots in the small blood vessels in the kidneys that cause kidney failure. The very young, the very old and people whose immune systems are already compromised are more susceptible to HUS.

Four children admitted to Children’s so far have had HUS, including Genevieve and Anthony. Though Anthony wasn’t quite as sick as his sister, both had surgery to implant central lines so they could get fluids, dialysis and blood transfusions, Schiding said. Anthony had three days of dialysis, Genevieve seven.

In addition, Anthony’s central lines became infected with staph, Schiding said, but the antibiotics typically prescribed to treat staph are too hard on the kidneys to give a child with HUS, so doctors had to use a less common medication, which has seemed to work.

“Obviously, we were freaked out a little bit,” Schiding said. “It seemed like he had started turning the corner” until he spiked a fever of 104.9 and tested positive for staph.

Schiding said his family no longer will consume raw milk.

‘Close to 10 children hospitalized for E. coli’ in Tennessee: raw milk, farm animals may be sources

Kristi Nelson of Knox News reports East Tennessee Children’s Hospital said Tuesday it’s treated “close to 10” children, all younger than 4, for a “serious outbreak” of E. coli-caused illness over the past 10 days. 

The Knox County Health Department has confirmed two likely sources of the outbreak are unpasteurized milk and farm animals.

Most of the ill children are known to have consumed raw milk from a local cow-share dairy, French Broad Farm in Knox County, the health department said in an alert issued Tuesday evening. The health department recommends consumers dispose of all raw milk or other unpasteurized products they may have from this farm.

“People need to be aware that if they choose to drink raw milk, they’re taking a risk,” said Dr. Martha Buchanan, health department director.

The health department is also investigating whether any of the affected children were exposed to E. coli after interacting with farm animals at a local child care facility. The facility, which officials declined to name, is not currently operating, Buchanan said.

Four of the children are in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit with kidney failure, said the hospital’s chief medical officer, Dr. Joe Childs, who is director of the PICU. There have been no fatalities related to the outbreak, hospital staff said, but life-threatening infections can occur when the strain of E. coli releases a toxin, shiga, that harms small blood vessels, of which the kidneys have many. Childs said the damage to the blood vessels is usually “temporary,” but children can get very ill, require surgery to place catheters, and may have nonfunctioning kidneys for weeks. 

“We are concerned that some of these cases do have exposure to the consumption of raw milk,” or milk sold unpasteurized, Childs said. “Tennessee is a state where that’s legal, to obtain raw milk. … The FDA and the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly discourage the consumption of raw milk and raw milk products because there’s a lot of things that can be in milk and there’s no real good way to decontaminate it other than pasteurizing it.” 

Bobcat Fever in Tennessee

There’s an easy Ted Nugent intro to this tale of infectious disease, but I won’t be going there.

Instead, I’ll share my dismay at how the Nashville Predators – the best team in the regular season – went down to the Winnipeg Jets in round 2 of the National Hockey League playoffs.

Mikayla Lewis of Fox 17 reports several veterinarians and pet owners in mid-area Tennessee, especially around Nashville, are reporting cases of Bobcat Fever. The disease is carried from bobcats to domestic cats through ticks.

Experts say Cytauxzoon felis (commonly known as Bobcat Fever) is a parasite that gets into the bloodstream. It’s so aggressive even with treatment, the mortality rate is 60 percent.

“Samson was definitely one of our family members, our whole community knew him,” says Jenny Hammer.

But the Nashville cat owner noticed last Sunday, her two-year-old cat was squinting and becoming more lethargic.

Hammer explains, “I kept a close eye on him and he seemed to go back and forth, that was the tricky part. He seemed to be okay and then not okay. By Tuesday night he seemed bad, he was roaming around his food bowl, unable to eat…which is a sign.”

Hammer took Samson in to the local veterinarian on Wednesday, where she discovered he had the same disease her sister’s cat had died from previously.

It begins to shut down all their organs and it’s super painful, ” Hammer says her vet, “He said Samson definitely has Bobcat Fever and he said the most shocking part was that he had the Seresto collar on. “

The collar is made to prevent ticks and diseases they transmit.

Toddler showed ‘butthole’ during meal: Tennessee vegan

Dave Urbanski of The Blaze reports a customer named Chelsea Bartley wrote in 2-star review last week that she had a decidedly unappetizing experience at Imagine Vegan Cafe in Memphis, Tennessee — specifically that a “bare butt naked baby” with dirty feet “was running around, stood up on a table … and bent over to show me [her] butthole” during her meal.

That didn’t sit well with the cafe’s owner, who happens to be the mother of the 22-month-old girl in question. But not for the reason some might expect.

Kristie Jeffrey hopped on Imagine Vegan Cafe’s Facebook page, called out the customer by name and sent a warning to any other detractors.

“I’m about to start calling out names and pictures of people who leave us bad reviews, especially when it deals with our children,” Jeffrey wrote. “You will no longer be allowed to come and dine at Imagine. We do not need or want your business. … This is going to be fun!!!! You’ve throughly [sic] irritated mama bear!!!!!!!!!!!! We’re starting with Chelsea Bartley.”

Jeffrey added: “For anyone who reads this and instantly is scared this might affect our business, I cannot begin to tell you how much we do not care. Haters are not welcome at Imagine!!!!”

The post generated thousands of reactions, WMC-TV reported — but the station added that a few hours after its story ran about the dust-up, the post was deleted.

As of Friday afternoon, the cafe’s Facebook page appears to be down as well.

But Jeffrey did speak on camera to the station and didn’t back down from her position, noting that Imagine Vegan Cafe “has been a very family-oriented restaurant from day one. We’ve had crayons, kid menus, toys.”

And apparently poop.

In addition she told the station her four children are often in the restaurant during business hours. Jeffrey told WMC that while her daughter didn’t have a diaper on at the time of the incident noted in the 2-star review, she believes much of it is exaggerated.

“It was summer and it’s hot,” Jeffrey told the station about her daughter. “She does what a baby does, and she ripped it and she ran.”

Here’s the full text of Bartley’s review:

On the real, I eat here all the time. I still probably will bc I like to go out and there are few options available to me BUT y’all listen During my visit, a bare butt naked baby was running around, stood up on a table with its black theyre so dirty feet, and bent over to show me it’s butthole. I wish I was exaggerating. This is like while I’m eating, and it’s the owners kids? An older kid came over and started like yodeling and staring at me during my meal. I was SO uncomfortable. Like I get it’s a family establishment and kids do weird things but naked baby was running around for like 15 minutes while all the workers started are just standing to the side talking and laughing over it.

And for my food, I can heat up a tofurky sausage just as well and in under half the time.

Jeffrey told WMC it would have been better if Bartley made her complaints known in person so it could have been handled, but the vegan cafe owner isn’t sorry about what the establishment stands for.

“I would actually rather not have their business, because it states it very clearly on our menus — on our website — this is what we are about,” she told the station. “If you can’t do vegan, then don’t come here. If you can’t do children, don’t come here.”

And if you can’t do basic microbiology and sanitation, expet customers to stay away.

Tennessee is a special place. And I’m still a bad bluegrass banjo player.

Of course it never happened before: Dozens sick from Salmonella outbreak at Tennessee fire department fundraiser

State health officials investigated a food poisoning outbreak that sickened potentially dozens of people in Middle Tennessee.

rutherfordcofire5x5The salmonella illness emerged after fundraiser for a volunteer fire department in Rutherford county.

“Salmonella can be very serious and cause death in some people,” said deputy state epidemiologist John Dunn.

No one died, but several people got sick, some hospitalized.

“We know of a number of others — 18 total so far and hearing of more and all attended the Lascassas Fire Department fish fry on September 10th,” said Dunn.

More than 400 people attended the event at the station on Lascassas Pike. The meal included fried fish and chicken along with homemade white beans other sides an array of desserts.

Since then, many were sickened by salmonella and shared their experiences on Facebook.

One woman lost 15 pounds, another ended up in the hospital, and one was sick for over a week and still not 100 percent.

This was the first time something like this has ever happened at a Lascassas Volunteer Fire fundraiser.

 

Everyone’s got a camera: Hamburger-buns-stored-next-to-toilet-at-Tennessee-Checkers edition

Customers at a local fast food restaurant in Bradley County say they found a disturbing scene over the weekend, hundreds of buns, just feet away from a public toilet

checkersIt all happened at a Checkers restaurant located off of 25th Street in North West Cleveland,TN. Pictures confirm the buns weren’t in the oven, they were in the bathroom, Saturday. Customers say this type of practice is unacceptable while health department officials called it a “public health emergency.” Tennessee Department of Health officials were on the scene within 24 hours to investigate. 

“That’s nasty, I don’t want to eat,” said customer T.C. Cooper. “I’m never going to eat there again.” 

Customers are now turning away from the Checkers in Cleveland after seeing the pictures another customer posted online. 
The video show several racks of hamburger buns sitting next to the toilet in the men’s bathroom.

“It’s just bad business, poor management and it’s disgusting,” said Cooper. 

Stephen Staley who manages a nearby McDonalds says he was visiting Checkers on Saturday when took the video. 

“My first thought was are they going to serve them and speechless other than that,” said Staley 

He says he took the video to keep others safe.

“I’ve been to get a serve-safe certificate and you learn about all of that stuff in that class,” said Staley. “Food safety is definitely a big priority in a restaurant.”

 He confronted the manager on duty about the buns being in the bathroom. 

“They said they were trying to get them out of there and inside of the restaurant,” said Staley. 

Staley told Channel 3 that he stayed on the property until employees moved the buns back inside more than an hour after his complaint. He then he called the Health Department’s emergency tip-line for help. 

A spokesperson for Checkers released a statement saying:

” The health and safety of our guests is our top priority and a bread delivery mistakenly left in the bathroom is completely unacceptable. The buns were misplaced during a delivery at the franchise-operated Checkers location in Cleveland, Tennessee, on Saturday, April 23, 2016, and when discovered, they were immediately disposed of by the restaurant team. The buns were never served, and the employees involved in the delivery have been disciplined.”
WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Dewshine in Tennessee: Second teen dies after drinking racing fuel mixed with Mountain Dew

A second Greenbrier teen has died and two more received medical treatment after officials said they drank a mixture of Mountain Dew and racing fuel last week.

Jul 10, 2015; Joliet, IL, USA; Fire comes from the engine on the dragster of NHRA top fuel driver Brittany Force as she does a burnout during qualifying for the Route 66 Nationals at Route 66 Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

On Thursday, authorities were called to the Franklin Farms home of 16-year-old Logan Stephenson, who was found dead in his bed.

Within minutes, they were called to a second home, on Cemetery Road, because the boy’s best friend had begun having seizures, Greenbrier Police Chief K.D. Smith said.

“We ask that everyone continue to pray for both of these families as they go through this tragic time,” Sheriff Bill Holt said in the department’s Tuesday release.

Since Stephenson’s death, two other teens have come forward, claiming they drank a similar substance, Smith said.

Four cases from Robertson County have been recorded with the Tennessee Poison Center at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, according to medical director Dr. Donna Seger.

Two of the teenagers were treated and released from two different emergency departments, Seger said.

Both teens said they had consumed a mixture of Mountain Dew and racing fuel, she said.

“They thought they knew what it was, that it was a substitute for alcohol,” Seger said. “They thought they would get the same effects as alcohol, but they weren’t aware of how toxic it was.”

Racing fuel, used in drag racing, is made up of almost 100% methanol, a non-drinkable form of alcohol used for industrial and automotive purposes, Seger said.