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Foundation Farm Raw Milk E. coli Outbreak

An E. coli O157:H7 outbreak in Oregon was traced to unpasteurized, or raw, milk produced through the Foundation Farm cow share program in Clackamas County, Oregon, in early April of 2012. By the end of April, the Oregon Health Authority had counted 19 individuals with E. coli infections that were associated with the consumption of Foundation Farm's raw milk. Five children were hospitalized due to the severity of their E. coli infections. Four of the children, ages 1, 3, 14 and 14, developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a severe complication of E. coli infection that can result in acute kidney failure. A fifth child was hospitalized and released.

In an update about the Foundation Farm cow share E. coli outbreak released April 30, Oregon Public Health Division officials announced that 2 adults who consumed raw milk from Foundation Farm had become ill with Campylobacteriosis and cryptosporidiosis. While it is not certain that these illnesses came from the farm's raw milk, it is likely, William Keene, senior epidemiologist at the Oregon Public Health Division, told the Oregonian.

E. coli O157:H7 bacteria were isolated from samples from leftover milk recovered from one household, rectal swabs from two of four cows, and multiple manure and other environmental samples collected at Foundation Farm.

All Foundation Farm cow share members--48 households in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington Counties--were contacted and told to discard their raw milk due to potential E. coli contamination.

If you drank Foundation Farm raw milk and believe you may have E. coli:

Contact the local health department to report your illness. If you believe you need medical assistance for your E. coli infection, contact your healthcare provider and submit a stool sample for testing. E. coli is isolated from an ill person’s stool can be compared to E. coli bacteria isolated from other ill individuals – and possibly from raw milk samples. Bacterial isolates that have matching “DNA Fingerprints” indicate a potential common source of E. coli infection. Epidemiologists work to determine whether two people with positive bacterial isolates with indistinguishable DNA fingerprints are part of a common outbreak – in this case, one tied to E. coli-contaminated raw milk.

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