Oklahoma girl hospitalized with E. coli

A Tulsa-area girl is fighting a strain of E. coli poisoning at a Tulsa-area hospital.

More than two weeks ago, 8-year-old Cady Daugherty fell ill and her father says since then she was placed on a ventilator and is now undergoing dialysis. “She’s a fighter,” said Larry Daugherty. “She’s just been incredible with this.”

Larry believes his daughter contracted the bacteria at a Tulsa-area restaurant and he says the Tulsa Health Department is investigating. He did not comment on which restaurant may be responsible.

Two kids fighting E. coli infection after separately visiting Oklahoma lake

A weekend at the lake may be to blame for sending two Green Country children to the hospital.

The health department says it hasn’t found evidence the bacteria was related to lake exposure, however the two families, who were not at the lake together, say the water is the only common denominator.

Four-year-old Kilee King is feeling better. She’s back to being silly with her big brother and their friend–a far cry from how she felt a few weeks ago.

On August 7, two days after the family spent the weekend at Blue Bill Point campground on Fort Gibson lake, she was not feeling well, at all.

“She was crying and holding her stomach and she couldn’t really stand up all the way. she was just kind of folded over,” said Kilee’s mom, Tara Pope. “She’s usually a trooper, but that kind of pain, I knew something serious was going on.”

Kilee had to be rushed to a Tulsa hospital.

“It was the scariest moment of my life,” Pope said.

Kilee stayed overnight and was diagnosed the next day.

“They confirmed it was shiga toxin producing E. coli,” Pope said.

Eldon Yoder, 9, was at the lake with his family that same weekend as Kilee, though the two families weren’t there together.

Eldon’s aunt said he’s fighting the same strain of E. coli, only it’s hit him much harder. His aunt said Eldon developed a potentially life-threatening complication, causing his kidneys to shut down.

Eldon has spent the past two weeks in the hospital on life support and dialysis. Thursday night, relatives said the machines had been turned off and he’s doing better, though they said there’s no guarantee that Eldon won’t need dialysis again.

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341 sick, 1 dead; no source found food worker suspected; epidemiology of 2008 E. coli O111:NM outbreak at Oklahoma restaurant

In Aug. 2008, 26-year-old Chad Ingle had a meal at the Country Cottage in Locust Grove, Oklahoma, a popular family-owned buffet-style restaurant.

Nine days later, Chad was dead from E. coli O111.

By the end of the outbreak, 341 people had been sickened with E. coli O111, all from eating at the country diner in a town of 1,423 people.

Early in the outbreak investigation, health types said it was unlikely that any well water contamination was the source of the outbreak.

A paper describing the investigation was published last week in
Epidemiology and Infection
and concluded from epidemiological evidence the outbreak resulted from cross-contamination of restaurant food from food preparation equipment or surfaces, or from an unidentified infected food handler.

From the paper:

The establishment was out of compliance with five regulations associated with hot and cold holding of foods, food storage, labeling and storage of toxic items, and cleanliness of food contact surfaces. The restaurant did not have written protocols or schedules for cleaning the kitchen, buffet, dining, or bathroom areas. A diluted bleach solution was used to clean surfaces and food spills, but there was no established method for monitoring the concentration.

The restaurant owners disclosed that their private well had been accessed briefly on 10 August to supply water to the restaurant when a sudden interruption of the municipal water system occurred during a lunch period of high volume patronage. The private well was the sole water source for a few hours on this date, but was not accessed again once the municipal water service was restored. The well was physically located
on the restaurant property, which is positioned on a major road on the outskirts of a small rural community.

Pasture land with livestock adjoins the property on the rear aspect of the restaurant. Well water samples collected on 27 and 29 August were positive for total and fecal coliforms. Numerous types of bacteria, including Proteus , Klebsiella , Serratia,
Enterobacter, Pseudomonas , and Pantoea species were cultured from the well-water samples. E. coli isolates were also identified, but none were Stx-producing or serogrouped as O111. PCR testing by the CDC Waterborne Diseases Laboratory also failed to detect the presence of E . coli O111.

To our knowledge this is the largest community outbreak of E. coli O111 on record. Several potential vehicles of introduction and contributing factors for spread within the restaurant were explored, including a primary contaminated food item, an infected food handler, contaminated well water, and cross-contamination from restaurant surfaces or equipment harboring the organism. Multiple specimens representing these potential vehicles were obtained for laboratory testing, but E. coli O111 was not isolated by culture or identified by molecular methods in any of them. The epidemiological findings suggest that foodborne transmission of E. coli O111 through
various food items – either contaminated directly by an infected food handler’s hands or by cross-contamination from food preparation equipment, counter surfaces, or storage areas – occurred at the restaurant.

While bacterial culture and Shiga toxin testing of submitted stool specimens did not identify an infected food handler, epidemiological findings are most consistent with foodborne transmission by an ill employee who continued to work, or by an asymptomatic food handler. Two employees, one with hostess duties and the other a food handler, reported working with diarrheal illness during 15–17 August.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control says there had been 10 previous outbreaks of E. coli O111, of which four were linked to food. Before the Oklahoma outbreak the biggest O111 outbreak happened in New York in 2004. Unpasteurized apple cider was blamed for 212 illnesses.

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.

A table of non-O157 shiga-toxin producing outbreaks is available at http://bites.ksu.edu/nonO157outbreaks.

Abstract below.
Epidemiology of a large restaurant-associated outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O111:NM***
Epidemiology and Infection, pp 1-11
K.K. Bradley, J.M. Williams, L.J. Burnsed, M.B. Lytle, M.D. McDermott, R.K. Mody, A. Bhattarai, S. Mallonee, E.W. Piercefield, C.K. McDonald-Hamm and L.K. Smithee
In August 2008, a large outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) O111:NM infections associated with a buffet-style restaurant in rural Oklahoma was identified. A case-control study of restaurant patrons and a retrospective cohort study of catered event attendees were conducted coupled with an environmental investigation to determine the outbreak’s source and mode of transmission. Of 1823 persons interviewed, 341 (18·7%) met the outbreak case definition; 70 (20·5%) were hospitalized, 25 (7·3%) developed haemolytic uraemic syndrome, and one died. Multiple food items were significantly associated with illness by both bivariate and multivariate analyses, but none stood out as a predominant transmission vehicle. All water, food, and restaurant surface swabs, and stool cultures from nine ill employees were negative for the presence of Shiga toxin and E. coli O111:NM although epidemiological evidence suggested the outbreak resulted from cross-contamination of restaurant food from food preparation equipment or surfaces, or from an unidentified infected food handler.

21 dead, 109 sick from listeria-in-cantaloupe; focus on farming practices

 As the number of people sickened with any of the four outbreak-associated strains of Listeria monocytogenes associated with cantaloupe has risen to 109 in 24 states, with 21 deaths, media reporting and investigators are increasingly questioning on-farm food safety practices that may have led to such a catastrophic outbreak.

Lynn Brandenberger, who has worked in Oklahoma’s horticulture extension since the 1980s, has a message for farmers: Make sure your “farm is not a potential source for listeria contamination,” adding that the effect the outbreak of the illness has on the crop markets is adverse.

His colleague at Oklahoma State University, Beth Schaefer Caniglia, an associate professor of environmental sociology, explains that when an outbreak like listeria occurs, even if it’s isolated to one farm or region, understandably people tend to avoid taking the risk.

Microbiologist Peter Muriana and horticulturist Brandenberger agree that listeria bacteria can originate from any animal source, including dogs and cats, as long as they shed any of these bacteria in their feces and then come in contact with food materials.

Mike Ssegawa of News Oklahoma cites the OSU professors as explaining the problem is much more serious than blaming the cantaloupes from Jensen Farms. Instead, it is about observing food safety practices from where the food is raised to where it is sold and prepared for dinner.

Wayne Whitmore, of Whitmore Farms in Coyle animals to get in contact with crops. So he urges consumers to “take some level of responsibility by washing fruits well before eating them.”

Brandenberger said, washing cantaloupe with warm water and a brush appropriate for cleaning fruits and vegetables is helpful, though “there are no sure ways to keep listeria from contaminating fresh produce”.

Muriana advises groceries to adhere to the “knowing your supplier” slogan, while reminding them to request letters of assurance or certificates of analysis.

Muriana maintains the latest outbreak is an opportunity to change the way business at the farms, farmers markets, groceries, etc., is done to improve food safety.

Farmers markets in particular, he said, lack a “nominal sanitation program or requirement.”

(Note: Mike Ssegawa is a Ugandan journalist. He is one of the 14 food security fellows from Kenya and Uganda at Oklahoma State University on a one-month exchange program supported by the U.S. Department of State to study farming in America. The program has seen them visit farms and ranches, and job shadowing at various organizations in Oklahoma to learn skills they can share when they return to their to countries.)

Oklahoma E. coli victim dies of complications – 8 years later

A 24-year-old Owasso, Oklahoma man has died of complications from an E. coli infection he contracted in 2002. Richard Chatfield (right, photo from News On 6, in 2008) died of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, according to a family friend, who said it was related to a kidney transplant he underwent in 2009.

Chatfield spoke with the News On 6 in 2008 for a story about the lingering effects of E.coli. Six years after his diagnosis, he was on dialysis and had been told that without a kidney transplant he would die.

Chatfield became ill after a summer camp, but never knew the source of the infection. Chatfield was a graduate of Tulsa Community College and an Eagle Scout. He worked at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

Services will be held November 13, 2010 at Faith Lutheran Church in Owasso.

Salmonella outbreak in Oklahoma students

The Oklahoma state health department has confirmed 10 children at four different Mustang elementary schools have contracted the same strain of Salmonella. The first case was spotted Sept. 2 and the last case was reported Sept. 13. The Health Department has teams in Mustang trying to determine the cause of the outbreak. No children have been hospitalized.

In a letter to parents and guardians, Mustang Public Schools said, and I’m not making this up,

“Mustang Public Schools’ Child Nutrition Department has a stellar record, and we want to assure our parents salmonellosis is not necessarily related to food preparation. Salmonella begins with a contaminated product, and we are working diligently with the State Department of Health officials to determine the origin of the cases.

OK, what’s it related too?

Hockey and triathalons – don’t swim in the Oklahoma River

I miss hockey. The closest ice is two hours away. I used to play 4-5 times a week, coached a whole bunch of girls teams, and now I’m in Kansas, watching TV, and I’m fat.

Maybe my friend Steve will guilt me into getting back into shape. But Steve doesn’t have a six-month-old, and Ben does, and he understands the laziness.

Amy spent 6 years doing her PhD at the University of Michigan so figures she’s a Detroit Red Wings fan. Last year, she watched more of the Detroit- Pittsburgh final than I did while we were in Quebec. Detroit just eliminated Chicago in overtime, and I’m still crushed that Carolina lost in 4 games.

If I’m going to work on fitness, it won’t be the triathalon.

More than 100 athletes who swam in the Oklahoma River during a triathlon earlier this month have returned health questionnaires from state officials investigating an outbreak of gastrointestinal illness among participants in the event.

Laurence Burnsed of the Oklahoma Health Department says several athletes who were sickened have also provided stool samples to aid the investigation.

The Boathouse International Triathlon, including a 1.5 kilometer swim in the downtown river, was held May 16-17. The cause of the illness remains under investigation.

BTW, those old farts in the pic, upper right, haven’t won the faculty tournament since I left in 2005.

Despite E. coli cases, Oklahoma restaurant kept serving customers; not so in North Bay

A Harvey’s restaurant in North Bay, Ontario, Canada,  remains closed as the number of confirmed and suspected sick with E. coli O157:H7 climbed to 159 today.

The public health folks in North Bay must be going nuts, but they, along with the operators of Harvey’s, have put public health first and closed the restaurant until more is known.

Locust Grove, Oklahoma, was also hammered by an E. coli outbreak, E. coli O111, linked to dining at the Country Cottage restaurant in August.. One person died, 72 were hospitalized and 241 others got sick before the outbreak was contained.

Today it was revealed that State Health Department officials allowed the Country Cottage to stay open temporarily — even after confirming six of eight initial food poisoning victims had eaten its food, internal documents show. That decision may have resulted in additional people getting sick.

Health Department officials admitted last week there is no set threshold in such cases for closing a restaurant suspected of being the source of an outbreak.

There are no guidelines. Epidemiological investigations are full of uncertainty. So is most of what is known about foodborne illness. But after the Salmonella-in-tomatoes-jalapenos outbreak this summer, public health officials are seemingly reluctant to go public. Industry has attempted to take matters into their own hands – which they should have been doing anyway – and is increasingly challenging public health investigations with its own test results, and unfortunately overstating the value of their own tests.

Listeria in Maple Leaf deli meats, Salmonella in produce, E. coli in Ontario and Oklahoma. There are no guidelines on when to go public. Federal agencies like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency must come clean with the public and industry and articulate the basis for public notification, or even restaurant closures, during outbreaks of foodborne illness. Until then local health units are left cleaning up the mess.

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.

Search for E. coli O111 source continues in Oklahoma; 1 dead, 175 sick

The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) reported Saturday Aug. 30/08 that at least 176 persons have become ill as a result of the E. coli O111 outbreak in northeastern Oklahoma. Cases include 128 adults and 48 children. Federal and state health officials say E. coli O111 is a rare type not normally associated with an outbreak this large.

OSDH disease investigators, along with staff from Tulsa Health Department and area local county health departments, have interviewed more than 450 persons in an effort to identify the source of the outbreak. Interviews continue this weekend.

While the source has not yet been identified, health officials continue to focus on the Country Cottage restaurant in Locust Grove, OK, after interviews with cases indicated most had eaten there during the time period Aug. 15 through Aug. 23.

The restaurant is closed while the investigation continues. Not all persons who ate at the restaurant have become ill. No other restaurant or food service outlet in the area has been linked to the outbreak.

OSDH laboratory analysis of water samples taken from a private well on the restaurant property is continuing, however, health officials believe it is unlikely that any well water contamination is the source of the outbreak.

One person has died in the outbreak.