Stroupe Farm Raw Milk E. coli OutbreakIn April of 2012, Missouri public health officials announced that raw milk was the suspected source of an E. coli outbreak in Central Missouri. According to the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services, as of May 2, 2012, at least 14 people, including 2 children who were hospitalized with hemolytic uremic syndrome secondary to E. coli infection, had been confirmed ill with E. coli infections. One of the children with HUS remained hospitalized as of that date.
Missouri public health officials stated that the state identified Stroupe Farm, a Howard County dairy, as the source of the E. coli outbreak. Stroupe Farm, which is in Howard County, MO, halted the sale of its unpasteurized, or raw, milk products.
Only 9 people who became sick with E. coli infections have acknowledged drinking raw milk before exhibiting symptoms of E. coli infection.
Q&A About the Missouri Raw Milk E. coli Outbreak
Q: I live in Missouri. I drank raw milk and believe I may have an E. coli infection. How do I know whether it’s E. coli or not? What are the symptoms of E. coli?
A: E. coli infections are characterized by acute gastroenteritis. E. coli infection symptoms include abdominal pain and severe stomach cramps, followed within 24 hours by diarrhea. The diarrhea caused by E. coli is often bloody. The incubation period, or the time from ingestion of E. coli bacteria until the symptoms start, is generally 2-4 days.
Hemolytic uremic syndrome is a severe complication of E. coli infection that can result in acute kidney failure. A small percentage of E. coli outbreak victims – mostly young children and elderly people – suffer this complication. At least two young children have been hospitalized with HUS since this Missouri raw milk E. coli outbreak began.
Q: What should I do if I think I’m part of the Missouri raw milk E. coli outbreak?
A: Contact your local health department to report your illness. If you believe you need medical assistance for your E. coli infection, contact your healthcare provider and submit a stool sample for testing.
Q: How will I know if I’m part of the Missouri raw milk E. coli outbreak?
A: E. coli bacteria can be detected in stool. E. coli is isolated from an ill person’s stool can be compared to E. coli bacteria isolated from other ill individuals – and possibly from raw milk samples. Bacterial isolates that have matching “DNA Fingerprints” indicate a potential common source of E. coli infection. Epidemiologists work to determine whether two people with positive bacterial isolates with indistinguishable DNA fingerprints are part of a common outbreak – in this case, one tied to E. coli-contaminated raw milk.