According to state health officials, an E.coli outbreak stemming from a restaurant in northeastern Oklahoma, has caused more than 200 people to suffer food poisoning, and has been linked to at least one death.
Oklahoma state health officials said yesterday that they have confirmed 206 cases of E. coli food poisoning among patrons who ate at Country Cottage restaurant in Locus Grove more than a week ago. The individuals who have been sickened were a variety of ages between 2 months old and 88 years old, with more than 25% of the cases involving children.
The sicknesses have been traced to E. coli infections, which can be spread through contaminated food. The elderly, young children and those with compromised immune systems are most susceptible to severe forms of E. coli food poisoning, which can ultimately lead to kidney failure or death if it goes untreated.
At least one death has been linked to the Country Cottage E. coli outbreak in Oklahoma. Chad Ingle, a 26 year old from Pyror, Oklahoma, died on August 24, 2008, a week after eating at the restaurant.
Health officials have been unable to pinpoint the exact cause of the cases of food poisoning at the restaurant. Food preparation and serving surfaces at the restaurant are being tested, and those who were sickened after eating there are being interviewed by health officials.
Over the weekend, reports confirmed that well water at the Country Cottage was found to be contaminated, but results of tests are being awaited to confirm that it contained the same strain of E. coli that caused the cases of food poisoning.
E. coli food poisoning can begin three to four days after exposure to the bacteria. Symptoms of the food poisoning can include bloody diarrhea, abdominal pain or cramping, nausea and vomiting and fever.
While most healthy adults recover within a few weeks, about 10% of the cases lead to hemoltic uremic syndrome, which can require intensive care hospital treatment and kidney dialysis. Long term complications could include hypertension, urinary abnormalities, renal failure or death.