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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Southern, multi-state E. coli O145 Outbreak Likely Kills Louisiana child

UPDATE: The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is working with CDC to investigate a cluster of cases of E. coli 0145 infections. These cases were reported to public health and tested at the Georgia Public Health Laboratory, which was able to determine the molecular fingerprints of the isolates. Those molecular fingerprints are identical to one another.  At this time, Georgia has 5 confirmed cases, which reside in Cobb (2), Cherokee, Coweta, and Forsyth counties. One case was hospitalized overnight for this illness and no cases have died. At this time, we continue to interview new cases as we are notified of them. We have detected no food items or environmental exposures that are statistically associated with illness at this time. This investigation is ongoing.

Louisiana State Health officials are working with neighboring southern states and the CDC to identify the cause of several cases of E. coli illnesses (presumably not E. coli O157:H7) in the New Orleans area – one of which is blamed for the death of a 21-month-old girl (presumably from hemolytic uremic syndrome – HUS). While a source of her infection has not been identified, health experts said it is one of three cases recently diagnosed in the area.

Dr. Takeisha Davis, the Louisiana State Officer of Public Health, said the same strain of E. coli sickened two others (adults) in the New Orleans area and is linked to a multi-state outbreak.

Dr. Gary Balsamo, State Epidemiologist, released the following statement on Monday:

“Three cases of toxigenic E. coli were reported to DHH in May 2012 in the Greater New Orleans area. These cases all have the same ‘DNA fingerprints.’ They are part of a CDC cluster of cases coming from several southern states. The CDC investigation has not yet identified the common source.



E. coli illnesses seem to be up in the South for 2012.  From the CDC’s Morbitity Mortality Weekly Review as of the end of May 2012 for all E. coli Shiga-toxin cases from 2012 in the South:

States                         2011     2012

Screen Shot 2012-06-05 at 9.10.03 PM.pngScreen Shot 2012-06-05 at 9.25.42 PM.pngScreen Shot 2012-06-05 at 9.09.31 PM.png

  • Carl Custer

    Thanks to ignoring the spread of zoonotic human pathogens from food animal facilities, O157 can and has been from many other non-beef fomites in the past decade.
    Imagine, what APHIS would have done if instead of a human pathogen, O157 was an animal pathogen.
    Cherchez la vache . . . up stream, up hill, up wind . . .

  • doc raymond

    What a cute little girl she was. Any idea why the PH officials won’t name the serotype?

  • Kate

    Breaks my heart to see this time and time again. Good reminder for parents to help prevent food borne illness every day at home too.

  • yipper

    i think e.coli happens more often than we think but we just chalk it up to “food poisoning”.