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Fourth case of E. coli in Boone County confirmed

Friday, April 20, 2012 | 3:22 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — A fourth case of E. coli has been discovered in Boone County after consumption of unpasteurized milk or raw dairy products from a farm in Howard County, according to a news release from the Public Health and Human Services Department.

The patient is a child under 18 years of age who required hospitalization but was no longer hospitalized as of Friday morning.

E. coli is a group of bacteria that is usually harmless. Certain strains, such as those found in some raw dairy products that have come into contact with animal fecal matter, can cause infection that ranges from mild to critical, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Facts about the four Boone County cases:

  • The cases occurred in people ranging in age from 2 to 31.
  •  Two patients required hospitalization.
  • Two cases occurred in children under 18.
  • All four cases resulted from consuming unpasteurized milk from the same Howard County farm.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has confirmed 15 cases of E. coli in Missouri and is continuing to investigate the source or sources of the infections, said Gena Terlizzi, Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services public information officer.

Seven of the now 15 individuals consumed raw milk from the same Howard County farm, including the four Boone County cases. Even though the state Public Health Laboratory has analyzed eight samples of dairy products from the farm and found them all to be E. coli-free, the farm has stopped selling raw dairy products, said Terlizzi.


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Comments

Mark Foecking April 20, 2012 | 6:13 p.m.

Have they confirmed the chain of infection by pulsed field gel electrophoresis, or MLVA analysis (Google is your friend)? Because if they haven't, it's really just speculation that consumption of raw milk caused the infections.

"Even though the state Public Health Laboratory has analyzed eight samples of dairy products from the farm and found them all to be E. coli-free, the farm has stopped selling raw dairy products, said Terlizzi."

That's a shame. Even though I recognize the dangers of raw milk and generally wouldn't drink it myself, the farm may not have done anything procedurally wrong. I suspect that in the past, when raw milk (etc.) was all that was available, people had a tolerance or immunity that we do not have today, due to constant, low level exposure to pathogens.

DK

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