Since May 20, three women have been admitted to Newton-Wellesley Hospital in Newton, Mass., suffering from severe E. coli infections in an apparent outbreak now under investigation by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
A spokeswoman for the state health department confirmed the investigation to Food Safety News after our reporters received a forwarded email written by a doctor at the hospital.
According to the doctor, all three women have been infected with E. coli O157:H7 and have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a kidney disease associated with the most severe E. coli infections.
First, a 53 year-old woman was admitted May 20. A 44 year-old woman was admitted on June 6, and a 41 year-old woman entered the emergency department on June 11.
“The demographics of this current cluster is similar to that of the German/French experience in 2011 with the new O104:H4 strain with enteroaggregative and Shiga toxin phenotype,” the doctor wrote, referring to a massive European E. coli outbreak in the summer of 2011 that ultimately sickened nearly 4,000 and killed 53. That outbreak was linked to fresh sprouts grown in Germany’s Lower Saxony.© Food Safety News