E. coli O111 can kill

Reporter Julie Schmit says in today’s USA Today that 20-month-old Braylee Beaver, was one of 314 people sickened in August by E. coli O111 in Locust Grove, Oklahoma. A 26-year-old died in the outbreak.

Braylee’s father, Jake Beaver, said after her 12-day hospital stay (family hoto from USA Today, right),

"I didn’t know E. coli could do this. I just thought people got a little sick."

Dana and Rick Boner of Monroe, Iowa, also thought their daughter, Kayla, had a regular bug last year when she fell ill on her 14th birthday. Kayla died 11 days later because of an E. coli O111 infection — the cause of which was never determined — her mother says.

"I didn’t even know there were any other strains but O157. … I want people to know there are other strains. How could my child be the only person who got this?"

From 1990 to 2007, O111 was linked to 10 reported illness outbreaks in the U.S., the CDC says. Four of the 10 were linked to food. Before the Oklahoma outbreak, in which one person died, the biggest O111 outbreak happened in New York in 2004. Unpasteurized apple cider was blamed for 212 illnesses.

E. coli O111 is a Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, or STEC. It is one of a handful of non-O157 STECs that have caused 22 reported illness outbreaks in the U.S. from 1990 to 2007, the CDC says. Food caused 10 of the outbreaks. …

The CDC estimates that more than 25,000 non-O157 STEC infections occur each year in the U.S. — about a third the number of O157:H7 infections.

In 1995, E. coli O111 sickened 173 people and killed a four-year-old girl in Australia, after eating contaminated mettwurst, an uncooked, semi-dry fermented sausage.