A 13-year-old, one of four children hospitalized in an outbreak E. coli infection linked to raw milk, is in critical condition, according to a spokesman from Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland, OR.
As of Thursday, the potentially fatal foodborne pathogen had sickened as many as 18 people in Oregon. Five of the cases patients have lab-confirmed cases of E. coli infection and the others have symptoms, with test results pending. All of those ill in the outbreak reported drinking unpasteurized milk form Foundation Farm near Wilsonville.
The hospitalized children, who range in age from 1 to 13, developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure; information about the conditions of the other three children was not immediately available.
According to the Oregon Department of Public Health, test results of samples taken from Foundation Farm — including samples collected from cows, manure and surfaces at the farm, as well as raw milk from a farm customer — were positive for E. coli O157:H7.
The farm is no longer distributing its milk to 48 households that are members of a cow share or herd share scheme. Under such an arrangement, people buy part of the herd or an individual with the understanding that they are not customers of the dairy but rather owners of the herd and the milk produced by herd.
There are no laws regarding cow shares or herd shares in Oregon.
In a recent court decision in Wisconsin, a judge ruled that a cow share scheme in that state was actually no different than a dairy farm and as such subject to the dairy code and other public health regulations
E. coli O157 infections are characterized by diarrhea — sometimes bloody — and abdominal pain. Kidney failure and related complications may occur, especially among young children and the elderly. Symptoms usually develop within two to eight days of eating contaminated food. Antibiotics have not been shown to reduce the duration or severity of symptoms, and may increase the risk of kidney failure.
Oregon public health officials have urged anyone who has consumed raw milk and is experiencing these symptoms to contact a doctor or health-care provider.
Go here (www.realrawmilkfacts.com) for more information about raw milk.