The State Department of Public Health (DPH) today issued the following update on the E. coli outbreak linked to the Oak Leaf Farm in Lebanon, CT:
DPH is investigating 34 confirmed cases of E. coli O157 infection linked to the farm. The patients range in age from 10 months to 45 years, with a median age of five years. 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 (HUS), a rare but serious illness that affects the kidneys and blood clotting system.
DPH is aware of 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 (CDC) is continuing and 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.
Oak Leaf Farm remains closed to the public and its owners are cooperating with the investigation. The CT Department of Agriculture advises anyone who recently purchased goats from Oak Leaf Farm to consult with their livestock veterinarian.
The outbreak was first identified on Thursday, March 24th when six of seven individuals sickened with E. coli were confirmed by DPH to have recently visited Oak Leaf Farm and come into contact with goats on the farm. DPH has been able to determine that the exposures happened between March 6th and March 20th, with onset of symptoms occurring between March 7th and March 24th.
For more information, on E.coli and HUS: http://www.ct.gov/dph/cwp/view.asp?a=3136&q=388334 (HUS)