E. coli cases surge to 34 at popular Lebanon farm - WFSB 3 Connecticut

E. coli cases surge to 34 at popular Lebanon farm

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Cases of E.coli are linked to a farm in Lebanon. (WFSB) Cases of E.coli are linked to a farm in Lebanon. (WFSB)

The number E. coli cases reported at a popular farm in Lebanon has risen to 34 and health officials is now calling this "largest" E.coli outbreak in Connecticut.

The infection was linked to the Oak Leaf Farm by the Department of Public Health last month.

The department issued the update on Friday.

Department of Public Health officials said patients ranged from 10 months to 45 years old. Six adults and 28 children contracted the infection, health officials said. 

Most of the victims are 5 years old or younger and nearly all of them are 10 or younger.  

Nine of those patients had to be hospitalized. Three were diagnosed with hemolytic uremic syndrome, which is a rare by serious illness that affects the kidneys and blood clotting system.

Health officials said they are dealing with the largest recorded E.coli outbreak in state history. 

"This is the time of year when baby goats are being born and the farm is open for people to come and visit," Dr. Matthew Cartter, who is a state epidemiologist, said. "We think that's probably the most likely way that these folks became infected, but our investigation is not yet complete."

 Health officials said many more are likely out there.

"The number of people who actually get sick, go see a doctor, get a stool culture done is just the tip of the iceberg," Cartter said.

Doctors are especially concerned because three of the young victims have a serious kidney ailment tied to the outbreak. Investigators also found three cases where family members of victims have become infected.  

"That's a great concern," Cartter said. "This is easily transmitted from person to person."

Cartter said if you've been infected or come in close contact with anyone who has, you must be  be vigilant about washing your hands and stay home from work or school, if you feel sick.

"In our culture there's something about going to work sick that a lot of people insist on," Cartter said. "That's actually not the right thing to do from a health perspective."  

Oak Leaf Farm remains closed while the investigation continues.

They've posted an apology on their website, which states "regardless of the cause of these illnesses. We feel absolutely terrible that anyone might have gotten sick under those circumstances, and sincerely everyone involved a speedy and healthy recovery."  

The most common symptoms with E. Coli are diarrhea, fever and abdominal pain. Health officials said see a doctor if you are at risk and feel sick. 

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