A farm called Jaquith Strawberry Farm in Newburg has been found to be the source of an E. coli outbreak that has killed one person and sickened 14 others. The person who died was elderly and suffered from kidney failure arising from E. coli infection. Four of those poisoned had to be hospitalized. All of the affected people had eaten strawberries from the farm.
“If you have any strawberries from this producer -- frozen, in uncooked jam or any uncooked form - - throw them out," says Paul Cieslak, M.D., from Oregon Public Health Division. He says people who have eaten the strawberries, but remain well need take no action. The incubation period for E. coli O157:H7 is typically two to seven days.
The strawberries were bought and sold at farmers markets, roadside fruit stands and retail outlets. A full list of outlets is available here: http://oregon.gov/ODA/FSD/strawberries.shtml
Two epidemiologists from Oregon Public Health collected more than 100 samples (soil, animal droppings, plants and unpicked strawberries) from the farm and found that ten per cent of samples tested positive for E.coli 0157: H7.
They believe that the contamination resulted from the deer droppings.
William Keene, Senior Epidemiologist, said, “We're increasingly confident that we will be able to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that deer were the source of contamination of the strawberries.”
Reducing the Risk of Food Poisoning
• Wash fruit and vegetables before you eat them.
• Keep all raw food including fruit and vegetables separate from cooked food.
• Wash your hands with soap after preparing foods, before eating, after using the toilet and after changing a baby’s diaper.
• If you already have food poisoning, drink plenty of water and get lots of rest. If you have E. coli 0157, you should not take antibiotics as these make kidney failure more likely.
Fresh Strawberries from Washington County Farm Implicated In E. coli O157 Outbreak in NW Oregon, U S Food and Drug Administration Home Page, Web. 8th August 2011.
Tests reveal E. coli in deer droppings found in Oregon strawberry field, OregonLive.com, Web. 12th August 2011.
Reviewed August 12, 2011
by Michele Blackberg R.N.
Edited by Jody Smith