One person has died from E. coli poisoning linked to strawberries from an Oregon farm. Nine other people have also became ill after eating the strawberries. The product was traced back to a farm in Oregon and sold at farmers’ markets and roadside stands.
Paul Cieslak, M.D., from Oregon Public Health Division, said: “If you have any strawberries from this producer – frozen, in uncooked jam or any uncooked form – throw them out.” Cieslak added that those who ate the strawberries but have no symptoms do not need to see a doctor. This E. coli strain has an incubation period of between two to seven days.
The 85 year old women died of kidney failure linked to the E.coli infection, officials said. Among the other nine confirmed cases, four individuals were hospitalized. State health officials believe that another six people who developed an E. coli infection could be part of the outbreak.
All the victims fell ill between July 10 and July 29, but Oregon public health officials did not begin their investigation until August 3, said Dr. Paul Cieslak, communicable disease manager for Oregon Public Health. That is because sickened individuals must first go to the doctor, and medical laboratories must report the cases to the state. “There is a lag built into the system,” Cieslak said.
Infection often leads to hemorrhagic diarrhea, and occasionally to kidney failure, especially in young children and elderly persons. Transmission is via the fecal-oral route, and most illness has been associated with eating undercooked, contaminated ground beef, swimming in or drinking contaminated water, and eating contaminated vegetables. The pathogen results in an estimated 2,100 hospitalizations annually in the United States.