E. coli Outbreak Reported in Livingston County, NY

An E. coli outbreak has been reported in Livingston County, New York. The Department of Health in Livingston is now investigating eight cases of the dangerous infection, which have been reported in just a two-week period this month, said Democrat and Chronicle.

“We are gathering information and looking at all possibilities of the source,” said health director, Joan Ellison. “We have nothing concrete to say it’s ‘this’ or ‘that.’” No deaths have been reported, to date.

Stool samples have been sent to state Department of Health laboratory in Albany, New York and Democrat and Chronicle pointed out that locating a cause could take weeks. The Rochester Homepage wrote that Ellison said she has never seen an E. coli outbreak of this size in the more than three decades she has served as Public Health Director.

Ellison told Democrats and Chronicle that symptoms were seen in the first case on August 6th and reported this weekend. Those who have fallen ill range in age from 22 to 67. The Rochester Homepage reported that the age range is broader and involves people from age 10 to 75.

According to the Rochester Homepage, there have been at least eight cases reported and at least eight of the reported cases involve the same E. coli strain. “It’s a little frightening I guess,” former healthcare worker Pat Murray, told the Rochester Homepage. “It makes you stop and think about everyplace you eat and everyplace you go,” Murray added.

“The way I’m describing it is there’s a thread that ties all these people together but there’s not a rope that makes it strong,” said Ellison, who said all of the cases were traced to Livingston County, wrote the Rochester Homepage. “So we can’t implicate one thing, be it a food, facility. That’s missing. That’s the missing link.”

A team of seven county investigators are still interviewing patients for common denominators such as supermarkets or restaurants, wrote the Rochester Homepage. “One case here, one case five days later, one case five days later. Usually they’re clustered,” Ellison told the Rochester Homepage.

As we’ve explained, most people infected with E. coli develop diarrhea and abdominal cramps, but some illnesses may last longer and can be more severe. While most people recover within a week, some may develop a severe infection. Rarely, as symptoms of diarrhea improve, a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) can occur; this can happen at any age but is most common in children under five years old and in older adults. People with HUS should be hospitalized immediately, as their kidneys may stop working and they may be at risk for other serious health problems.

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