The Whatcom County Health Department (WCHD) is investigating an outbreak of shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157 associated with the Milk Makers Fest that was held at the Northwest Fairgrounds in Lynden on 4/21 –4/23/15.
Over a thousand primary school children from all of the school districts in Whatcom County attended the event. Most of the cases involve children who attended the event. Several older children involved with the event and some adults and close contacts of cases have also become ill.
WCHD is continuing to interview cases to determine if there was a common food or water source or activity, such as the petting zoo or other contact with livestock.
Washington State Department of Health Communicable Disease Epidemiology is assisting with the outbreak investigation.
Cumulative total: 22 cases* (7 cases have been hospitalized), 20 probable cases **
*Cases include those with positive labs (preliminary presumptive positive O157 and final confirmed positives), and clinical cases with close contact with a case with positive or presumptive positive labs. ** Probable cases are cases with clinical symptoms and were associated with the event, but lab results are not available or labs were not done.
All sound painfully familiar:
- AgVenture Farms Petting Zoo E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak Lawsuits – Florida (2005)
- Big Fresno Fair E. coli Outbreak Lawsuit – California (2005)
- Cleveland County Fair E. coli Outbreak – North Carolina (2012)
- Crossroads Farm Petting Zoo E. coli Outbreak Lawsuits – North Carolina (2004)
- Cuyahoga County E. coli outbreak – Ohio (2009)
- Lane County Fair E. coli Outbreak Lawsuits – Oregon (2002)
- White Water Water Park E. coli Outbreak Lawsuits – Georgia (1998)
For more information on the risks of zoonotic exposures, see Fair Safety Dot Com.