LEBANON, Conn. (WTNH) — The Connecticut Department of Public Health confirmed Friday afternoon that 34 cases of E. coli infection have been linked to a dairy farm in Lebanon.
On March 24th, state officials visited the Oak Leaf Dairy Farm, located at 68 Bogg Lane, after several patients in southeastern Connecticut hospitals tested positive for E. Coli. The age range of patients infected runs from 10 months to 45 years, with the majority of the infected people being young children.
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On Friday, DPH officials tell News 8 that four people are still in the hospital of the nine that required hospitalization. Three of the hospitalized patients have been diagnosed with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a rare but serious illness that affects the kidneys and blood clotting system.
“It can be from two days to ten days after exposure. The farm closed a week ago yesterday so there may be people getting sick as a result of having been there,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Matt Cartter.
Officials said three people that tested positive for E. coli never visited the farm, but became ill after having contact with people that did visit the farm, which they classify as secondary cases. The DPH is continuing to monitor those infected for additional reports of secondary cases.
“I think it’s very sad. It’s disturbing obviously. I hope they can figure out what is wrong. I feel bad for the farmers and the people who are so sick,” said Jak Cruthers
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“People are allowed to interact with the animals as I know because we interacted with the goats to see how they react with us when we bought some,” said Meaghan Sullivan. “Five to six years ago we bought goats from them and we never once had a problem with E. coli.”
If you’re concerned about possible E.coli contamination, the Connecticut Department of Public Health offers these tips:
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water immediately after using the restroom or changing a child’s diaper.
- Wash your hands before and after preparing food for yourself and others.
- Stay home from school or work while diarrhea persists; most people can return to work or school when they no longer have diarrhea.
- Special precautions are needed for food handlers, health care workers, and child care providers and attendees. Check with your employer before returning to work, and check with your child’s child care center before resuming child care.
Original Story: DPH investigates E. coli outbreak potentially linked to CT farm
According to DPH officials, the investigation at Oak Leaf Dairy farm is expected to last several more weeks. Oak Leaf Farm remains closed to the public and its owners are cooperating with the investigation. The CT Department of Agriculture advises anyone who recently purchased goats from Oak Leaf Farm to consult with their livestock veterinarian.