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15 cases of E. coli linked to Lebanon farm

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LEBANON–The state Department of Public Health is investigating an E. coli outbreak linked to a farm in Lebanon.

As of 1 p.m. on Monday, DPH says it is looking at 15 confirmed cases of E. coli linked to the Oak Leaf Dairy Farm in Lebanon, though that number may increase as DPH continues to identify cases that weren’t initially reported. The outbreak was first reported on March 24 with six out of seven E. coli cases were confirmed in patients who had visited the Oak Leaf Farm and come into contact with goats there.

The patients range in age from 1 to 44 years old, and the median age is 6. Of those who fell ill, five were hospitalized, and three remain in the hospital. Two of the hospitalized patients were also diagnosed with hemolytic uremic syndrome, a rare but serious illness that impacts the kidneys and blood clotting.

The Centers for Disease Control and Protection sent a team to Connecticut on Sunday to help investigate the outbreak, along with DPH, the Connecticut Department of Agriculture and the Uncas Health District.

The farm is closed to the public.

“We received numerous phone calls and emails over the last several days from people who visited Oak Leaf Farm in March. Those calls, both from individuals who may have been sickened and from individuals who’ve had no symptoms, are highly valuable to our ongoing investigation,” said DPH Commissioner Raul Pino. “I continue to encourage anyone who visited the farm in March and developed symptoms of this illness to contact their physician. Additionally, I ask anyone who visited the farm in March to email or call DPH to let us know when you visited and if you or your family members have experienced any symptoms of E.coli.”

E. coli symptoms include abdominal cramping, diarrhea, vomiting and a low-grade fever.

To prevent getting ill, wash your hands thoroughly after contact with animals and after using the bathroom. Also make sure you eat thoroughly cooked meats and wash fruits and vegetables before consumption.