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Raw Milk Sickens Over Two Dozen in Oregon and Missouri with E. coli O157:H7

Nineteen people in Oregon are ill with E. coli O157:H7 infections in an outbreak traced to raw milk from Foundation Farm near Wilsonville according to the Public Health Division of the state’s Health Authority. Of the 19 people, 11 have culture-confirmed E. coli O157:H7 infections. Fifteen of the 19 cases are children 19 or younger. Four of the children have been hospitalized with kidney failure. On April 19, a Portland hospital confirmed that one of the hospitalized children, a 13-year-old girl, was in critical condition.

Illnesses in the ongoing E. coli O157:H7 outbreak in central Missouri rose to 15 on Friday, while information on the individual infections suggests they may come from multiple sources. Of the 15 cases, seven individuals have reported that they consumed raw milk products from a single dairy in Howard County. As a result, the dairy has been under investigation and has halted sales of its raw milk products. The E. coli infections in six of those seven raw milk drinkers have shown to match by their identifiable genetic pattern known as a pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE).

The infection of the seventh raw milk drinker, the newest addition to the total number ill, has a different PFGE pattern, though one that is very similar to the other six, according to epidemiologist Sarah Rainey at Missouri’s Columbia-Boone County Health Department. Of the other eight illnesses, the ones who did not report consuming raw milk products, only one individual has a PFGE pattern matching the raw milk drinkers. The other seven infections vary genetically or have not returned a PFGE reading.

The newest case in the outbreak is a child under 18 from Boone County who was hospitalized from the infection but has since been released. A 2-year-old from Boone County has been hospitalized for more than two weeks after developing symptoms of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a kidney disease associated with severe E. coli infections.

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