Number of E. coli cases linked to Lebanon farm jumps to 34
LEBANON – The state Department of Public Health is investigating an E. coli outbreak linked to a farm in Lebanon and the cases keep growing.
The patients range in age from 10 months to 45 years, officials said in a statement. The patients include six adults and 28 children 14 years old and under; 18 of the children are age five years or under. In total, nine patients have been hospitalized with four still in the hospital. Three of the hospitalized patients have been diagnosed with hemolytic uremic syndrome, a rare but serious illness that affects the kidneys and blood clotting system.
The outbreak was first reported on March 24 when 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.
Three patients who did not visit Oak Leaf Farm but became ill with E. coli after having contact with someone with an E. coli infection who did visit the farm. These people are referred to as secondary cases. DPH continues to monitor for additional reports of secondary cases. It’s important for people infected with E. coli or those with a family member infected with E. coli to follow these precautions:
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water immediately after using the restroom or changing a child’s diaper.
- Wash your hands before and after preparing food for yourself and others.
- Stay home from school or work while diarrhea persists; most people can return to work or school when they no longer have diarrhea. Special precautions are needed for food handlers, health care workers, and child care providers and attendees. Check with your employer before returning to work, and check with your child’s child care center before resuming child care.
The investigation by DPH, Department of Agriculture, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to last several weeks. DPH, in collaboration with CDC, is planning additional studies to better understand the scope of the outbreak and specific risk factors for illness among persons who visited the farm.
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.