health_20081031_snacktime_banner.jpgScreen Shot 2011-08-08 at 8.20.20 PM.pngLynne Terry of the Oregonian tells the tale of the medium-sized strawberry producer, with about 35 acres, who sold tainted fresh strawberries to buyers who in turn distributed them to roadside stands and farmers markets in Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas, Yamhill and Clatsop counties.

The E. coli O157:H7 outbreak sickened over a dozen, sent four people to the hospital, including two people who suffered kidney failure (hemolytic uremic syndrome). One of them, an elderly woman in Washington County, died of kidney failure.

According to Lynne, strawberries have never before been implicated in an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak in the U.S.  However, there have been at least 19 bacterial and viral outbreaks linked to berried in the past decades.

William Keene, senior epidemiologist with Oregon Public Health, suspects the source in this outbreak might be deer he saw roaming through the fields. He hauled samples of animal feces to a specialized lab outside Seattle for testing.