A Festival in Lynden, Washington has resulted in an outbreak of shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157 (STEC). The Milk Makers Fest took place between April 21 and April 23, 2015, and among the attendees were over 1,300 first-graders. At least 45 people became sick after the Fest, many of them being children. Eight cases have required hospitalization. Several of the cases have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). The Whatcom County Health Department is investigating the outbreak to locate more cases as well as a source of the outbreak. No specific source has been identified, although investigators suspect that animals at the Fest may have played a part in the outbreak.
E. coli infections can be a very serious matter. The illness will begin to cause symptoms between 2 and 8 days after infection. The symptoms that appear include bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping, and vomiting. Most people will recover within a week. However, E. coli can cause a very serious complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). HUS damages red blood cells in the body, which can in turn damage the kidneys. This can result in kidney problems and kidney failure, which can be fatal. It is important to contact a medical professional if you or a loved one begins to show the symptoms of E. coli poisoning.