Handwashing is never enough: Maine man says 20-month-old son died of E. coli linked to petting fair

A man from the town of Poland says his 20-month-old son died of an illness caused by E. coli and that the child may have come in contact with it while visiting a petting zoo at the Oxford County Fair in mid-September.

Colton-GuayThe toddler is believed to be one of two young children who visited the fair’s petting zoo around the same time and were hospitalized with symptoms of E. coli. The father made the announcement on Facebook, saying he was doing so to warn other parents about the dangers of letting small children pet farm animals.

State health officials have confirmed they are investigating two E. coli cases, but they have not confirmed that anyone has died or named either of the people affected.

However, Victor Herschaft of Auburn posted a message on his Facebook page Tuesday asking that friends and family share the message about his son, Myles, who was at Maine Medical Center undergoing treatment for E. coli.

A nursing supervisor said Myles was in fair condition Tuesday night.

“This (E. coli) is what Myles contracted and I hope no one else is sick or gets sick. If your child has symptoms of an illness please don’t take it lightly and please get your children checked out,” Herschaft wrote. “Myles is still battling this HUS (hemolytic uremic syndrome).”

Herschaft said his son and the other boy went to the same petting zoo around the same time. They were admitted to the hospital within 6 hours of each other, he said.

ekka.petting.zoo.aug.12State health officials say there is only one way of preventing the spread of E. coli after touching farm animals: washing hands throughly with soap and water or using some type of hand sanitizer.


Handwashing is never enough, and we have documented numerous cases of shiga-toxin producing E. coli linked to animal exhibits that involve aerosolization of E. coli or cross-contamination.

Maine sucks at going public: Two toddlers contracted E. coli at fair

It’s fair season in the U.S. and elsewhere, and that means, reports of children stricken with various forms of deadly E. coli.

Tcourtlynn.petting.zoohe Maine CDC confirms two children contracted E. coli last month at the Oxford County Fair.

The CDC has not released the names or the conditions of the children due to confidentiality laws.

10 sick: E. coli O121 at childcare in Japan

Escherichia coli O121 has stricken 10 people — seven children between ages 2 and 6, a nurse and two parents — at an officially authorized childcare facility in Naha.

daycare_children_pictures_242_op_800x533According to the Okinawa Prefectural Office, after a 20-year-old nurse complained of symptoms including diarrhea, slight fever and stomachache, the cause was identified on Sep. 10 as the O121. A 4-year-old boy was confirmed of having the infection next to the nurse, and eventually 10 people developed the infection by of Oct. 2.

Poop in the field

Two new studies assess the risk of various manures in broccoli and spinach respectively.

cow.poop2In 2011 and 2012, trials consisting of experimental plots were carried out to evaluate the presence of pathogenic (Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella) and prevalence of indicator (Escherichia coli) microorganisms in broccoli fertilized with liquid hog manure or mineral fertilizers and irrigated zero, one, or two times with E. coli–contaminated water.

In 2011, results showed that E. coli contamination in broccoli heads was affected by the interval between irrigation and sampling (P = 0.0236), with a significant decrease between the first and third day following irrigation (P = 0.0064). In 2012, irrigation frequency significantly increased E. coli prevalence in broccoli samples (P = 0.0499). In 2012, E. coli counts in the soil were significantly influenced by the type of fertilizer applied, as plots receiving liquid hog manure showed higher bacterial counts (P = 0.0006). L. monocytogenes was recovered in one broccoli sample, but geno-serogrouping differentiated the isolate from those recovered in manure and irrigation water. The L. monocytogenes serogroup IIA, pulsotype 188 strain was found in six soil samples and in irrigation water applied 5 days before soil sampling.

This study highlights the link between E. coli levels in irrigation water, irrigation frequency, and interval between irrigation and harvest on produce contamination. It also demonstrates that L. monocytogenes introduced into the soil following irrigation can persist for up to 5 days.

In the second study, the authors write that concerns about the microbiological safety of fresh produce have attracted attention in the past three decades due to multiple foodborne outbreaks. Animal manure contaminated with enteric pathogens has been identified as an important preharvest pathogen source.

This study investigated the survival of Salmonella enterica in dust particles of dehydrated turkey manure and how association with manure dust may enhance the survival of salmonellae on leafy greens in the field. The survival of a cocktail of multiple Salmonella serotypes in the dried fecal material of various particle sizes (125 to 500 μm) was examined at varying moisture contents (5, 10, and 15%). Survival times of the pathogen were inversely related to moisture content and particle size of manure dust, with viable Salmonella still detectable for up to 291 days in the smallest particle size (125 μm) with 5% moisture. Association with manure dust particles increased the survival of Salmonella when subjected to UV light both under laboratory conditions and on the surface of spinach leaves in a greenhouse setting.

poop ice creamThe results of this study suggest that aerosolized manure particles could be a potential vehicle for Salmonella dispersal to leafy greens if the microorganism is present in the dry manure.



Persistence of indicator and pathogenic microorganisms in broccoli following manure spreading and irrigation with fecally contaminated water: field experiment

Journal of Food Protection®, Number 10, October 2015, pp. 1776-1924, pp. 1776-1784(9)

Généreux, Mylène; Breton, Marie Jo; Fairbrother, John Morris; Fravalo, Philippe; Côté, Caroline



Survival of Salmonella Enterica in dried turkey manure and persistence on spinach leaves

Journal of Food Protection®, Number 10, October 2015, pp. 1776-1924, pp. 1791-1799(9)

Oni, Ruth A.; Sharma, Manan; Buchanan, Robert L



‘Doesn’t have all the industrialized stuff in it’ Raw goats milk in Alaska

After we won the hockey final yesterday, several of the parents said to me or Amy, “we didn’t expect that. Our team dominated.”

goats-1-600x450We were up 6-0 before the other team knew what was happening.

On the drive home Amy said, I told them, Doug probably had a plan (which I did). I appear sorta dopey (which is easy), but do the homework and know the game.

And sometimes get lucky.

Watching the raw milk comings-and-goings is something like that.

The majority of producers invoke the gosh-shucks-raw-is-just-natural line, without adding that smallpox is also natural. And E. coli.

The regulators seem lost in this rhetorical garden, portrayed as villains, even though the are relied upon to clean up the mess when things go bad.

Victor Nelson and his wife, Tabitha, have been supplying raw milk from their dairy goats to people in Petersburg, reported KFSK-FM.

The couple raises chickens, pigs and goats on a few acres of land at Point Agassiz, an area across the sound from Petersburg. They’re the only family living out there year-round, surrounded by craggy peaks, cedar trees and glaciers.

“We started with two goats and just for raising quality milk that doesn’t have all that industrialized stuff in it and people kept asking us so we decided to buy a few more and a few more,” said Tabitha Nelson.

They have more than 30 now.

The Nelsons say people go crazy for the fresh milk — “We could never meet the whole demand for Petersburg,” said Tabitha — but there are limitations on how they can sell it.

In Alaska, you can only buy raw dairy products like the Nelsons’ unpasteurized goat milk through a herd share agreement, so the customers in Petersburg are partial owners of the goats.

Unpasteurized dairy products are heavily regulated because they’ve been known to carry disease-causing microorganisms like E. coli. In 2013, a campylobacter outbreak on the Kenai peninsula was linked to raw milk.

‘I believe it happened at slaughter’ and other delusions: 9 sickened with E. coli from Worthy Burgers in Vermont, STEC found in unopened beef

Vermont health inspectors found the DNA of Shiga toxin in unopened packaged beef at a South Royalton restaurant and believe that undercooked hamburgers at Worthy Burger were the source of an E. coli contamination that sickened several people in late summer, a Vermont health official said Tuesday.

happy.cowsBradley Tompkins, a health surveillance epidemiologist with the Department of Health, also said two more cases of E. coli have been linked to people who dined at the restaurant, and that there now are six confirmed and three probable cases of E. coli in the Vermont outbreak. All have recovered, although to varying degrees, he said.

Tompkins said eight of the nine diners ate ground beef at Worthy Burger between the end of August and the middle of September, when investigators with the Vermont Department of Health inspected the restaurant, recommended some changes, and took some beef and lettuce, which is served on the hamburgers, to test.

The lettuce tested negative — “we do not believe lettuce played a role in this outbreak,” Tompkins said — but the health department found the DNA for Shiga toxin in the ground beef.

When they tried to grow the E. coli in the lab, however, it came out to be a slightly different strain than the one found in the patients from Vermont. Still, Tompkins said, the department believes the beef is to blame.

“It’s certainly not conclusive that it did come from the ground beef, (but) based on the interviews that were done with the patients and that we found the E. coli and the Shiga toxins … we do believe the outbreak was caused by the ground beef that was being undercooked from the restaurant,” Tompkins said.

Asked which farm the beef came from and where it was slaughtered and packaged — Worthy Burger relies on local suppliers for its grass-fed beef and other food — Tompkins referred a reporter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, which oversees slaughterhouses.

USDA spokeswoman Gabrielle Johnston said “there’s still debate whether it’s actually been linked to the beef” and said the matter is “still under investigation.”

Aaron Lavallee, another USDA spokesman who was on the same phone line with Johnston, said the agency was not at a point where it would name which slaughterhouses are being investigated, but said officials are “trying to trace this back all the way to the slaughter facility.”

cow.poop.spinachWorthy Burger’s Executive Chef Jason Merrill said on Tuesday the beef that was tested was taken from the restaurant’s walk-in cold storage in its original packaging from a Vermont slaughterhouse, leading him to suggest the contamination could have occurred at what he called a “USDA-inspected plant.”

“The samples they took from us were in a receiving walk-in, and we hadn’t even touched it,” he said.

“I believe the beef was OK (at the farm), and when it got to the slaughterhouse, that’s when the infection happened,” Merrill said.

Stick it in: No more pink in the middle for Worthy Burger after 7 sickened

Do you cook burgers to 155F and hold for 15 seconds?

Worthy Burger’s executive chef, Jason Merrill, responded, “Our customers are telling us what temperature they’d like their hamburger.”

barfblog.Stick It InBradley Tompkins, a health surveillance epidemiologist with the Vermont Department of Health, said the agency confirmed five cases and identified two “probable cases” of shiga toxin-producing E. coli.

In discussing the changes recommended to Worthy Burger, Tompkins said diners or people cooking at home should not rely on the color of their meat to determine if it’s done.

“We want people to be cooking their meat to the appropriate temperature, and checking that the meat has reached the appropriate temperature,” Tompkins said. “People go on color … we would encourage people not to do that.”

Among the changes Worthy Burger has made this month is to alter the wording for its signature Worthy Burger.

Where it once said “a 6 oz grass fed patty served pink in the middle,” it now reads simply “a 6 oz grass fed patty,” according to a menu on the restaurant’s website.

The restaurant has been celebrated in the localvore movement, and Gov. Peter Shumlin was seen eating there this spring.

142 sickened with E. coli from UK takeaway because staff fail to wash hands

More than 100 takeaway customers were sick for up to two months with a rare strain of E. coli - after staff did not wash their hands after using the toilet, a court heard.

handwashing.sep.12Nottingham Crown Court heard that 142 customers of the Khyber Pass in Hyson Green, Nottingham, suffered with nausea, vomiting and diarrhea after the outbreak last June.

In one case, a 13-year-old girl spent four nights in hospital with a consultant saying the infection could have been fatal if it was not treated.

Amjad Bhatti and Mohammed Basit, owners of the Khyber Pass, in Gregory Boulevard, pleaded guilty to seven food hygiene offences and were sentenced on Wednesday.

Prosecuting, Bernard Thorogood said that nine of the 12 members of staff who handle food at the takeaway were found to have traces of the bacteria, and one of the defendant’s daughters fell ill.

Mitigating, Robert Egbuna said lessons had been learnt and improvements made at the takeaway.

He said: “It is not just a case of adding hand basins. There have been significant changes that have come about from the real shock of what has happened.”

Bhatti and Basit were both given four months prison suspended for a year, as well as being ordered to do 250 hours of unpaid work each.

His Honour Judge Jeremy Lea also said each of the victims should be paid £200 compensation by the defendants as well as paying costs of £25,752.36.

E. coli strikes in Missouri

Every time I go to Buffalo I want to barf.

Buffalo, Missouri, that is, and it’s next door to where Amy’s father lives and the roads are, um, adventurous.

5yrold-jpgThe Dallas County Health Department is investigating an E. coli outbreak, and the family of the affected children say they want to spread the word about the bacteria’s harmful effects.

“It was heartbreaking, I didn’t think my son to come through it,” says Sierra Sanford.

Sanford says her one-year-old son got sick from E. coli in early September. She says the bacteria led to hemolytic uremic syndrome, or HUS, which is a condition that caused his kidneys to fail. She says he was taken to a hospital in Springfield and then airlifted to a hospital in Saint Louis.

Angela Sanford, the child’s grandmother, says, “When we first saw him, it was horrible, my daughter had to literally set him up, lay him down, he couldn’t move.”

Angela Sanford says her five-year-old granddaughter got sick roughly a week after her grandson was sent to the hospital. She says E. coli made her sick, she contracted HUS, and her kidneys failed as well. The young girl is still in a Saint Louis hospital and Sanford says she has a long road to recovery, but she’s stable. Angela Sanford says her mother, the children’s great grandmother, also got sick from E. coli.

“I think the word needs to be out, people need to take precaution,” she says.

We went to the Dallas County Health Department and spoke with Administrator Cheryl Eversole.

She says, “We believe that this is a closed case, meaning this is a contained incident. We do not believe that this is anything that is going to affect a majority of the public. We feel that this may be just a localized incident within a family unit.”

UK toddler’s life turned upside down after HUS diagnosis

Just weeks ago Bobby Crosier was a happy, healthy two-year-old who was enjoying a bank holiday break with his mum and dad at a caravan in County Durham.

bobby.crosier.e.coli.sep.15Now, the Washington tot is in Newcastle’s Great North Children’s Hospital fighting off the illness which his worried parents are desperate to raise awareness of.

Mum Alex Crosier, 23, said: “When they told me, I was in a state of shock.

“I felt like someone has just grabbed our world and turned it upside down.”

The Crosier family, including dad Glen, 27, and three-year-old son Karl, had all been enjoying a weekend at a caravan in Witton-le-Wear during the August bank holiday weekend when Bobby started complaining of feeling unwell.

Alex said: “His eyes seemed a bit swollen and he wasn’t himself but we just thought it might have been a touch of hayfever.

“It turns out the problem was caused by E. coli, and the doctors told me it would just be a one-off case.

“When I heard that, I was so grateful. We had originally feared the situation might be a lot worse.”

Bobby has now started to recover on his own without the need for dialysis.