Capital District E. coli Update - State Health Department and CDC epidemiologists complete case-control study of outbreak
Albany, September 16, 1999 – The New York State Department of Health now reports a total of 971 suspected and confirmed cases of E. coli 0157:H7 infection resulting from the Capital District outbreak. Patients are not reporting recent onset of symptoms, and no new secondary cases have been identified.
Most people who have reported illness since the beginning of the outbreak are primary cases; that is, they attended the Washington County Fair and consumed water or products made with water piped from a contaminated well. State Health Department epidemiologists (health professionals who specialize in disease control), along with three representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now have completed a case–control study that confirms earlier environmental and laboratory data pointing to water from well number six as the source of the infection.
The study looked at risk factors for infection among cases (Washington County residents who went to the fair and had culture–confirmed E. coli 0157:H7 infection and/or infection with campylobacter) and controls (/nysdoh/communicable_diseases/en/e_coli.htm selected Washington county residents who attended the fair and were not ill). Thirty–two case patients and 84 controls were questioned about food and water consumption and their activities. A preliminary analysis of results shows that consumption of water from well number six, including beverages made with the water, was significantly associated with illness.
Highlights of the study include:
- Persons who became ill were 23 times more likely than the control group to have consumed water from well number six.
- When controlling for water consumption, other possible exposures, such as consuming food at the fair and contact with manure, were not significantly associated with illness.
Epidemiologists also conducted a household survey among /nysdoh/communicable_diseases/en/e_coli.htm selected Washington County residents which determined that approximately 14 percent of Washington County residents who attended the fair became ill. A total of 285 households were contacted by telephone. Of these, 121 households, representing 361 individuals, went to the fair. Fifty–one individuals from 37 households reported illness following fair attendance.
A total of 122 E. coli 0157:H7 cases have been culture–confirmed through a special laboratory test. Suspect cases are those individuals who have symptoms of E. coli 0157:H7 infection, but whose illness has not been laboratory confirmed.
To date, 65 people have been hospitalized as a result of the E. coli outbreak associated with the Washington County Fair. Eleven children developed Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome, a severe complication of E. coli infection, and two people have died. According to hospital reports, none of the children who remain hospitalized is in critical condition.
With the exception of a food service worker employed by F&W Caterers, no Schaghticoke Fair attendees have been confirmed with E. coli infection, although 26 individuals experienced diarrheal illness. Most did not have the laboratory test necessary to confirm E. coli infection.
No press briefing is scheduled for today.9/16/99–119 OPA