E-coli death and illness linked to tainted Oregon strawberries

A woman who is described as “elderly” has died and four people have been hospitalized after an outbreak of E-coli illness linked to strawberries grown at the Jaquith Strawberry Farm near Newburg, Oregon. Six other people have become ill due to the outbreak reports The Daily Astorian.
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Those that have become ill were infected with the E-coli O157:H7 strain, which is one of the most virulent strains.

Dr. Paul Cieslak of the Oregon Public Health Authority says that the source of the E-coli bacteria appears to be from deer fecal matter which contaminated the strawberries.

The tainted fruit has been pulled from farm stands and farmer markets.

E-coli O157:H7 is associated with hemolytic uremic syndrome, a very serious complication which causes kidney failure. The woman who died succumbed to kidney failure caused by the disease. One report said that at least one other victim also contracted hemolytic uremic syndrome. The elderly and people with compromised immune systems are most at risk for this serious complication.

It is not easy to track down the source of an E-coli infection. Health investigators start with interviewing patients about where they shopped and what they ate. Patient’s don’t always accurately remember eating a particular food. Tracing infection to a fruit or vegetable can be very difficult because when sold at farm stands, they are not labeled with lot or other identifying numbers.

Tenacious health investigators in this case, however, pinpointed the source of infection to Jacquith Strawberry Farm.

Since the source of the infection has been found, no new cases of the illness should emerge from fresh berries but the fear is that someone may have frozen the berries which could be still cause illness.

This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have become seriously ill due to foodborne illness and the family of those who have died.

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