Oregon E. Coli Food Poisoning Outbreak Linked to Strawberries

An Oregon E. coli food poisoning outbreak, which has killed at least one person and may have sickened up to 16 others, has been tracked back to fresh-picked strawberries from a local farm. 

The Oregon Public Health Authority issued a press release (pdf) on Tuesday, warning that the outbreak has been linked to strawberries picked at the Jaquith Strawberry Farm in Newberg last month. The strawberries were contaminated with E. coli O157:H7.

At least 10 illnesses linked to the strawberries have been confirmed, including one death. However, the number could be as high as 16, due to a number of E. coli food poisoning cases that appear to be linked to the outbreak, but which have not yet been confirmed as the same strain.

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Four of the 16 people have been hospitalized due to E. coli food poisoning and an 85-year-old woman has died due to kidney failure resulting from E. coli infection complications. All of the illnesses occurred between July 10 and July 29, according to state health officials.

The strawberries were sold at roadside stands and farmer’s markets in northwest Oregon and are no longer on the market. The farm has issued a strawberry recall and state officials are urging any consumers who bought strawberries that were grown on the farm to dispose of them, particularly if they are uncooked or were used to make jam. Strawberries picked at Jaquith Strawberry Farm’s U-pick field or sold since August 1 are exempt from the recall, as are any strawberries sold south of Marion County or east of Multnomah County or in supermarkets, state officials said.

E. coli O157:H7 is one of the more common causes of food poisoning in the United States. When left untreated, it can lead to dehydration and potentially life-threatening illness. While most healthy adults recover from food poisoning caused by E. coli within a few weeks, young children and the elderly could be at risk for more severe illness. If the toxin enters the blood stream, E. coli could also lead to kidney failure known as Hemolytic-Urenia Syndrome (HUS).

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons from public domain as U.S. Government product.

1 Comments

  • Making BeerAugust 25, 2011 at 10:27 am

    Thanks for sharing.I was looking for this.

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