Jaquith Strawberry Farm E. coli Outbreak
A 2011 Oregon E. coli O157 outbreak was associated with eating strawberries from Jaquith Strawberry Farm in Newberg, Oregon. At least 10 people were sickened, and one of them died.
“Generally, in cases like this we file a lawsuit against the grower and any other companies that handled the fruit before it was eaten by the E. coli victim,” said attorney Fred Pritzker. “Some growers are not adequately insured. Victims and their families should not be the ones to bear the financial burden of E. coli contamination.”
Of the ten confirmed cases, four have been hospitalized. One elderly woman in Washington County died from kidney failure associated with the E. coli O157:H7 infection. E. coli kidney failure is caused by hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) and/or thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP). Six other people in northwest Oregon also have recently developed an E. coli O157:H7 infection and appear to be part of this outbreak.
There were 12 females and four males among the cases, and their ages ranged from 4 to 85. They fell ill between July 10 and July 29, 2011.
Jaquith has recalled its certain of its strawberries. None of the following have been implicated in this outbreak:
• Berries other than strawberries;
• Strawberries sold since Aug. 1;
• Strawberries sold south of Benton County or east of Multnomah County;
• Strawberries sold in supermarkets;
• Strawberries picked at Jaquith Strawberry Farm’s U-pick field.
When a potential outbreak is investigated, public health officials ask a slate of questions of those who have been sickened, family members and health care providers. The questions are to find common exposures and “trace back” to the source of contamination.
“If someone gets sick, we ask questions about everything from what they’ve eaten, to whether they’ve been to common gatherings, to whether they’ve been swimming in a particular place, and then out of this we try to find commonalities,” he said. “The commonality among these cases has been strawberries at roadside stands and farmers’ markets supplied by this one farm last month.”