18 E. Coli Infections Across Va. and Tenn.

By Tim Persinko
|  Monday, Jun 27, 2011  |  Updated 4:49 PM EDT
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18 E. Coli Infections Across Va. and Tenn.

NIH

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In the past 6 weeks, public health officials have recorded 18 e. coli infections in western Virginia and northeast Tennessee.  In one case, a child died.

Investigators continue to perform genetic testing to determine what the relationship is between the cluser of cases.

"Thus far it appears that, in total, about half the cases genetically match each other," Virginia Department of Health spokesperson Robert Parker wrote in an email.  "There is still no indication of a common source."

In early June, doctors determined that a two-year-old girl from Dryden, Virginia had died as a result of e. coli infection.  The girl's brother was hospitalized at the same time as his sibling, but survived the infection.

That death coincided with rash of infections detected in Europe that killed dozens.  The Virginia Department of Health determined that the strain of bacteria that killed the Dryden girl was different from the outbreak that originated in Germany.

Three other cases in Western Virginia between May 8 and June 2 seem to be of the same strain that caused the two-year-old's death.  The cases in Tennessee have occured in the same time frame as those in Virginia, and in some of the cases, the strains are genetically similar as well.

The last cluster of cases in Virginia occurred in 2008, when 84 were sickened at Boy Scout camp after eating undercooked burger meat.  The meat from the outbreak was tracked to a California food distributor, which subsequently issued a recall.
 

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