A Waterborne Outbreak of Escherichia coli O157:H7 Infections and Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome: Implications for Rural Water Systems1
Published Date:Apr 2002
Source:Emerg Infect Dis. 8(4):370-375.
Escherichia Coli Infections
Escherichia Coli O157
Escherichia Coli O157:H7
Description:In the summer of 1998, a large outbreak of Escherichia coli O157:H7 infections occurred in Alpine, Wyoming. We identified 157 ill persons; stool from 71 (45%) yielded E. coli O157:H7. In two cohort studies, illness was significantly associated with drinking municipal water (town residents: adjusted odds ratio=10.1, 95% confidence intervals [CI]=1.8-56.4; visitors attending family reunion: relative risk=9.0, 95% CI=1.3-63.3). The unchlorinated water supply had microbiologic evidence of fecal organisms and the potential for chronic contamination with surface water. Among persons exposed to water, the attack rate was significantly lower in town residents than in visitors (23% vs. 50%, p<0.01) and decreased with increasing age. The lower attack rate among exposed residents, especially adults, is consistent with the acquisition of partial immunity following long-term exposure. Serologic data, although limited, may support this finding. Contamination of small, unprotected water systems may be an increasing public health risk.
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