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Lethal Outbreak in Oregon Linked to Strawberries

One person in Oregon has been killed and at least nine others — and possibly as many as 16 — have been sickened in an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 linked to fresh strawberries from a farm in Newberg.

Oregon Public Health officials said Monday that the strawberries were grown at the Jaquith Strawberry Farm and sold to buyers who then resold them at roadside stands and farmer’s markets. Jaquith finished its strawberry season in late July, and its strawberries are no longer on the market.

But health officials are concerned about strawberries that have been frozen or made into uncooked jam.


“If you have any strawberries from this producer — frozen, in uncooked jam, or any uncooked form — throw them out,” cautioned Dr. Paul Cieslak, from Oregon Public Health Division, in a news release.

None of the following have been implicated in this outbreak: 

• Berries other than strawberries.

• Strawberries sold since Aug. 1.

• Strawberries sold south of Benton County or east of Multnomah County.

• Strawberries sold in supermarkets.

‚Ä¢ Strawberries picked at Jaquith Strawberry Farm’s U-pick field.

Ten people have confirmed E. coli O157:H7 infection caused by the outbreak strain. They include residents of Washington, Clatsop, and Multnomah Counties. Six other people in northwest Oregon also have recently developed 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.

Cieslak said 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. 

Cieslak, who is manager of the Oregon Public Health’s communicable disease section, said his team has been working with county public health officials and the Oregon Department of Agriculture on tracking the infection cases.

“If someone gets sick, we ask questions about everything from what they’ve eaten, to whether they’ve been to common gatherings, to whether they’ve been swimming in a particular place, and then out of this we try to find commonalities,” he said. “The commonality among these cases has been strawberries at roadside stands and farmer’s markets supplied by this one farm last month.”

© Food Safety News
  • When I was at IAFP (International Association of Food Protection) annual meeting last week there were rumors circulating that, not only was Cargill implicated in this massive turkey recall, but that a strawberry E. coli outbreak was going to be announced any moment. Both of these outbreak absolutely underscore why we need more public health resources, not less, focused on surveillance of bacterial diseases.

  • Cameron Aujuard, REHS, CCEO

    This is another reason(s)why individuals from the local community of Crescent City California need to “get-their-act-together” and stop asking the local environmental health dept if they can “have permission” (local churches mainly) with out any liability or responsibility on their part in order to have “food events” with this food prepared and made at local members personal homes. Health depts in California and most other states, “do not” inspect the public’s personal homes (under the U.S. Constitution Fourth Amendment).
    For a community with a great deal of elderly and very young people (as well as nursing mothers, individuals who may be on certain medications, and or individuals who may have compromised immune systems, etc..) you would think that people in general would know better….but I guess not. What are you waiting for, a local college professor(“English” specialty)to “teach” you something about the dangers of food safety, microbiology, and basic foodborne outbreak epidemiology ?….good luck, because in the not too distant past, I had such a “person” come to me and ask if they could conduct such activity at their home….all because of the economy….or was that “money” I mentioned over common sense ? (unlike from a more “repreable” establishment, such as this farm in Newberg,OR).
    Until this activity stops at all cost, we will continue to see episodes of food borne illenesses spring-up, all due to people who “ignore” basic public health regulations and policies that are in place to protect individuals “just-like-them”. And by the way, who “do” these people call anyway when they, their familty members, close friends, and or especially “their children” are affected by such stupid activity conducted by idiots who believe that “this-is-ok”, because they have a cause to accomplish ?
    Let me guess….uuuuh “a so called Community Planning Director” with “absolutely” no public health compliance / enforcement background (education, training, experience)to say the least ? And may I quote, “Actually, I don’t know that much about environmental health at all. I mainly depend on my health inspectors to keep me up to speed on things”, un-quote (as what was stated to the county Grand jury November 2010).
    Is “this” really the kind of person you want watching out for your general welfare and public health well-being ? Well guess what…..”this is exactly what “YOU”, the Crescent City Community have…..Good luck.