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Quickly Noted: What In The Hell Is Going On In Oklahoma?

September 4, 2008

E. coli gram stain

E. coli gram stain

What with all of the hurricanes and political conventions and vice presidential selections and football season and back to school sales, Oklahoma is having itself one mother of an E. coli outbreak.

CNN story here.

The CNN story (admittedly from a few days ago) says that state officials identified well water at a restaurant as the cause.

Then I saw this in my reader today:

It also turns out E. coli was not linked to bacteria found in the water used at the Country Cottage restaurant, as was suspected yesterday, the state Health Department said.  Officials are now saying that food at the restaurant is believed to be the culprit in this outbreak and there is “no reason think food outside the restaurant would be contaminated.”  Meanwhile, the number of victims continues to increase.  The state interviewed over 600 people and at least 206 have been sickened:  149 adults, 53 children, and four other people whose ages have not been confirmed. One man died.

This is a HUGE outbreak of a very dangerous bacteria. E. coli O111 is a toxin-producing bacteria (meaning that just the presence of one bacteria in the body causes bad stuff to happen), and is not known to produce outbreaks this big. A quick search of the CDC’s site finds only a few MMWR’s on the subject, and each of them has fewer than twenty cases identified. Like I said, huge.

And now, we don’t even know the vector.

Keep an eye on this one, folks.

Image credit: CDC

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