An outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 thought to have originated at a picnic in Germantown, Ohio has expanded from 68 victims to 75, according to the local health department. The number of people hospitalized remained steady at 14 since the last report.
Three of those hospitalized, including a 4-year-old girl, a 15-year-old boy and a 73-year-old-man, remain in the hospital with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a complication of E. coli infection that leads to kidney failure and can be fatal.
“We’re hopeful that all three may still make it,” said Bill Wharton, a spokesperson for Public Health Dayton & Montgomery County, according to Dayton Daily News.
Stool samples from 18 of the victims have confirmed them to be part of the outbreak.
The picnic was a customer appreciation event at Neff’s Lawn Care in Georgetown, and was attended by approximately 300 people. Some food was provided by the company; other dishes were brought by guests.
The exact source of the contamination remains unclear at this time. Health officials continue to investigate.
Symptoms of E. coli infection generally appear 3-4 days after exposure to the bacteria and include abdominal craps, diarrhea that can sometimes be watery or bloody, nausea and vomiting.
If you think you may have contracted an E. coli infection, contact your healthcare provider. Those who became ill after attending Neff’s Lawn Care customer appreciation picnic are urged to contact the public health department at 937-225-4460.© Food Safety News