I must admit I was a Boy Scout – many years ago. I too went to scout camp, but never became ill – certainly not with E. coli O157:H7. Now at least 18 people have fallen ill with E. coli O157:H7 infections after visiting a Scout camp in Virginia.
According to the Washington Post, the Virginia Department of Health was notified of several cases involving ill children after boys from dozens of Scout troops left the Goshen Scout Reservation outside of Lexington, Virginia. An additional 60 people who returned from the camp have experienced symptoms that may be from E. coli O157:H7 infections. Christopher Novak, a Health Department epidemiologist, said the E. coli O157:H7 might have come from packaged meals of vegetables and beef eaten frequently at the camp.
To those reporters reading my blog, a few questions to ask the Virginia Health Department, the USDA/FSIS and the CDC (assuming the vegetable and beef meals are a common food item eaten):
1. What is the Pulsed Field Gel Electrophoresis pattern (genetic fingerprint) of E. coli O157:H7 bacteria taken from the ill scouts’ stools?
2. Does that genetic fingerprint match any other ill people in the United States?
3. Does that genetic fingerprint match any recently recalled meat?
It will be interesting to see if poisoning Boy Scout just outside the D.C. Beltway gets Congresses attention?