Published Date: 2002-07-19 23:50:00
Subject: PRO/EDR> E. coli O157, summer camp - USA (Washington): alert
Archive Number: 20020719.4807
E. COLI O157, SUMMER CAMP - USA (WASHINGTON): ALERT
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: 19 Jul 2002
From: ProMED-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Source: Krem.com [edited]
Six hospitalized in _E. coli_ outbreak
Six girls have been hospitalized and an additional 45 are reporting _E.
coli_-like symptoms following a cheer camp held on the Eastern Washington
University campus in Cheney 11-14 July 2002.
A total of 130 girls attended the four-day camp; 93 of them reside in
Spokane County wilh the rest coming from two schools in Montana and a
school in Bellingham. On Thursday, the Spokane Regional Health District has
confirmed there were seven cases of "_E. coli_ 0157" among the camp
We are currently working to determine the potential scope of this
outbreak, Dr. Kim Thorburn, health officer for the Spokane Regional Health
District, said in a prepared statement released Thursday afternoon.
Epidemiologists from the regional health district and the Washington State
Department of Health are in the process of contacting nearly 130
participants to determine if there any of them are ill. During this portion
of the investigation, dozens of participants have been identified are ill
with cramping, bloody and non-bloody diarrhea, nausea, poor appetite,
fatigue, head aches and body aches. Most of them became ill between July 13
According to the Centers for Disease Control, symptoms often include severe
bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps and can appear from one to 10 days
The participants came from across the Northwest. Just For Kix, the
Minnesota-based company that ran the cheerleading camp, confirmed that
participants at the camp came from 10 schools from across the Northwest
including Sqaulicum High School in Bellingham, Royal High School in Royal
City, and schools from Libby and Lincoln, Montana. Local schools that had
participants at the camp include Lakeside in Nine Mile Falls, Rogers,
Sacajawea Middle School, Mead, Mt. Spokane and Shadle Park High School.
Health officials are also conducting a survey of participants to see what
foods they may have eaten to track down the source of the _E. coli_
outbreak. They are also working with EWUs dining facilities personnel to
try and identify potential sources of the outbreak.
At this point we are encouraging anyone who consumed food during this time
frame on the EWU campus who is or becomes symptomatic to contact their
health care provider immediately, Dr. Thorburn said.
The health district has also established a special hotline for camp
participants to call if they feel they have been exposed to _E. coli_. That
number is (509) 869-3133.
Tom McGill, EWU police chief and director of public safety at the campus
said Thursday that the EWU is following the health districts advice on
safety precautions and is working to find and eliminate the point of
contamination if it was on the college campus.
There were 12 confirmed cases of _E. coli_ in Spokane County last year,
while the state averages approximately 150 to 250 cases each year. Most
outbreaks, according to the health district, are caused from eating
undercooked ground beef, but can also be caused by eating sprouts, lettuce,
salami, unpasteurized milk or juice or through swimming in or drinking
[byline: Rob Kauder]
[One wonders if this outbreak might be related to the ongoing nationwide
recall of ground beef (see E. coli O157, ground beef - USA(multistate):
recall(03) 20020719.4806). Of interest is that there have been 7 recalls
of ground beef due to _E.coli_ contamination since early Jun 2002. The
USDA Food Service Inspection Agency posts information on all recalls
<http://www.fsis.usda.gov/OA/recalls/rec_pr.htm> which gives product
specific information. More information on the epidemiology of this
outbreak when available would be appreciated. - Mod.MPP]