Lisa Kubota of Hawaii News Now reports that investigators with the Hawaii Department of Health are looking into at least nine people have now become ill from E. coli O157:H7. The confirmed cases consist of three adults and six children. All of them live on Oahu except for a Canadian visitor who spent time on Oahu, but was later diagnosed on the Big Island. Officials are having trouble pinpointing the source of the infections.
Oahu healthcare providers recently received a letter from health officials warning them to be on the lookout for E. coli O157:H7. Around the same time, Dr. James Ireland saw a 67-year-old patient with symptoms like severe diarrhea and abdominal cramps. Ireland said the man is now recovering after being hospitalized. There have been a total of 11 cases so far this year, including two unrelated to the current cluster. There were 20 last year, 9 the previous year, and 29 in 2010.
According to the state, three of the children in this latest group developed a life-threatening complication called Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome.
Where have I heard this before?
A confirmed outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 occurred among people who ate lettuce at restaurants on the island of Kaua’i, Hawaii. Mesclun lettuce mix was named as the vehicle of infection. The lettuce was grown on a local farm near a cattle ranch. Recent rains likely carried runoff from the cattle ranch onto the lettuce crop.