Last Friday the CDC reported that now thirty-seven persons infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 have been reported from five states since mid-October. The number of ill persons identified in each state with this strain is as follows: AZ (19), CA (3), CO (10), NM (3) and NV (2). There have been 15 reported hospitalizations, 1 case of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), and no deaths.
On Nov. 5, 2010, Bravo Farms voluntarily recalled all Dutch Style Gouda cheese because it may be contaminated with E. coli 0157:H7. The product was distributed primarily through Costco in Southern California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico in 1.5 lb. pieces. It was also distributed through various retail stores within California in 8 oz. pieces.
On or about October 15, 2010, A.C. (a minor) consumed a sample of Bravo Farms’ Dutch Style Gouda Cheese at the Costco Warehouse located at the Christown Spectrum Mall in Phoenix, Arizona. A.C. began to feel ill on or about October 17, 2010. The next morning, she began to suffer from bouts of diarrhea and a low-grade fever. Later in the morning she began to suffer from abdominal pain and severe cramping. A.C.’s illness did not relent after several days of symptoms; in fact, by October 20, 2010, her symptoms had become so severe that her mother rushed her to the emergency department at St. Joseph’s Hospital. There, A.C. underwent multiple diagnostic tests, including an ultrasound and CT scan, to determine what the cause of her severe symptoms was. During her stay in the emergency room, A.C.’s pain level was so extreme that she was treated with morphine. Later in the evening of October 20, 2010, A.C. was admitted to the hospital for further treatment. During her hospitalization, A.C.’s pain level, and gastrointestinal symptoms, remained extreme. In fact, her physicians ultimately had to supplement the morphine with Versed to sedate her. The Versed, at one point, caused A.C. to have problems breathing, and she had to be placed on supplemental oxygen. A.C. was finally discharged on or about Friday, October 22, 2010. At this point, she remained acutely ill, but could at least eat popsicles. She was discharged with a prescription for an antibiotic called Rocephin. Bridgette Chavez took her daughter to see her pediatrician on or about Monday, October 25, 2010, for follow-up treatment. Later the same day, Mrs. Chavez was contacted by Maricopa County Health Department and learned that A.C. had tested positive for E. coli O157:H7. After learning this information, A.C.’s pediatrician immediately phoned Mrs. Chavez and instructed her to stop administering the antibiotic Rocephin for fear of causing hemolytic uremic syndrome. A.C. continues to recover from her E. coli O157:H7 infection and related illness.