Officials probe E. coli cases possibly linked to Lebanon goat farm

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E.coli bacteria Courtesy of Berkeley Lab

HARTFORD — Connecticut health officials said they’re investigating an outbreak of E. coli cases and whether they’re linked to a goat farm in Lebanon.

The Connecticut Department of Public Health said Thursday it confirmed seven cases of E. coli infection and two cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome, or HUS.

The department says six of the seven people recently visited the Oak Leaf Dairy Farm in Lebanon. They range in age from 2-25 years of age.

The department said the goat farm isn’t letting the public visit the animals, as a precaution.

A message left at the farm seeking comment wasn’t immediately returned.

E. coli is a bacterial infection that can cause diarrhea, abdominal cramping, nausea and vomiting. HUS can develop in some patients with E. coli and can cause kidney damage and failure.

“Earlier today, DPH was informed of several patients from Southeastern Connecticut who have become ill with E.coli,” said DPH Commissioner Raul Pino in a statement. “We are closely monitoring the situation and working with our partners at the CDC and other relevant stakeholders. We will continue to work diligently to provide the public with the information it needs as we investigate.”

E.coli is a bacterium that is found in animal and human feces and in foods. The particular strain a bacteria found in this outbreak is E.coli O157.

The best way to prevent the spread of infection is to wash your hands thoroughly after contact with animals and after going to the bathroom and by thoroughly cooking meats and washing fruits and vegetables. E.coli can easily spread, especially among household members, if proper handwashing is not consistently used.

“We strongly encourage anyone who visited the farm in March and developed symptoms of this illness to contact their physician,” said Pino in the statement.

Further updates will be made publicly available as the investigation proceeds. For more information, on E.coli and HUS click here

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