E. coli cases from Denver Stock Show reach 23

The Denver Department of Health says three more cases of E. coli have been discovered in the past week in an outbreak believed to have started at the National Western Stock Show, bringing the total number of cases to 23.

Many of the cases are in children along the Front Range, from Boulder to El Paso County.

Several of the sick children go to day care and at least two of the cases appear to have happened after ill children came into contact with other sick children, according to the Colorado Department of Health and Environment (CDPHE).

It is unclear how the E. coli first spread at the Stock Show.

E. coli outbreak linked to Denver cattle show

Health officials are investigating an outbreak linked to Colorado’s largest stock show after 20 people, including 17 kids, came down with E. coli O157.

Chris Urbina with Denver Public Health said a lab has confirmed 20 E. coli cases but the number is expected to grow.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said in a news release,

"While the investigation is ongoing, we suspect that these infections are linked to attending the National Western Stock Show, which was held in Denver from Jan. 10 to Jan. 25.”

Although health officials haven’t pinpointed the exact cause of the E. coli, the common denominator in all the cases is the stock show, Urbina said.

Many schools and child care centers organized trips to the stock show, and many children attended with their families, so there is the potential that the number of cases could jump, health officials said.

On Wednesday, the CDPHE sent a letter to daycare centers alerting them to the outbreak and asking the staff to take special precautions.

For disease reporting or other questions please contact the CDPHE Communicable Disease program at 303-692-2700.

Salmonella in Colorado water supply: Doug Powell speaks with Mudflap

The 8,500 citizens of Alamosa, Colorado, are frustrated.

Salmonella has contaminated the city’s water supply, sickening more than 200 people since last week. For everyone else, the inconveniences are immense.

Alamosa — in the heart of the vast San Luis Valley, about 200 miles southwest of Denver — draws its water from deep wells that tap the aquifer directly. Because the drinking water comes straight from the ground, it is not chemically treated.

John Pape, a state epidemiologist, said some residents may have continued to drink tap water after the warnings, adding,

"Just because the government tells you not to do something doesn’t mean you’re not going to do it."

I got a chance to talk about the outbreak this morning on Denver’s #1 for Country, KYGO, with morning show hosts Kelly, Mudflap and JoJo (right, exactly as shown). They found me via barfblog.com.

I said the flushing of the water system was a good idea, but the source of the original contamination needed to be identified so it could be prevented in the future. I also mentioned that the 5,000-strong community of south Galway, Ireland, has been under a boil-water advisory for the past five months after high incidences of Clostridium perfringens were detected in the Clarinbridge public water supply. In follow-up tests, trace levels of cryptosporidium were detected. There have been no reported cases of cryptosporidiosis but the boil-water notice has remained in place ever since.

A thorough investigation into the intricacies of a munincipal water supply becoming contaminated can be found in the Walkerton Commission of Inquiry, held after E. coli O157:H7 got into the water supply of Walkerton, Ontario in 2000, sickening half the town of 5,000 and killing seven.