One dead, 10 sick from E. coli O157:H7 traced to Oregon strawberry farm

Oregon Public Health officials have identified fresh strawberries from a Newberg, Oregon, farm as the source of a cluster of Escherichia coli O157:H7 infections that sickened at least 10 people last month, including one person who died.

The strawberries were produced last month by Jaquith Strawberry Farm located at 23135 SW Jaquith Road in Newberg. Jaquith finished its strawberry season in late July, and its strawberries are no longer on the market. Jaquith sold its strawberries to buyers who then resold them at roadside stands and farmers’ markets.

Health officials are urging consumers who may have purchased strawberries grown on this farm to throw them out.

Strawberries that have been frozen or made into uncooked jam are of particular concern. Cooking kills E. coli O157:H7 bacteria.

"If you have any strawberries from this producer – frozen, in uncooked jam or any uncooked form – throw them out," says Paul Cieslak, M.D., from Oregon Public Health Division. He says people who have eaten the strawberries, but remain well need take no action. The incubation period for E. coli O157:H7 is typically two to seven days.

Ten people have confirmed an E. coli O157:H7 infection caused by a single strain. These individuals include residents of Washington, Clatsop, and Multnomah counties. Six other people in northwest Oregon also have recently developed an E. coli O157:H7 infection and appear to be part of this outbreak.

Of the confirmed cases, four have been hospitalized, and one elderly woman in Washington County died from kidney failure associated with E. coli O157:H7 infection. There were 12 females and four males among the cases, and their ages ranged from 4 to 85. They fell ill between July 10 and July 29.