E. coli updates: KCHD

Knox County Health Department continues to investigate a cluster of Escherichia coli (E. coli) 0157 cases in children likely associated with consumption of raw milk and contact with farm animals.

To date, more than 10 cases of E. coli 0157 have been reported to KCHD, all are among children.

However, KCHD has not indicated any of the cases have a Town of Farragut/Farragut area connection.

Regarding the timeline, KCHD recently received a report from a child care facility, A Kids Place, Inc. in Mascot, of a child who may have E. coli. Following standard protocols, KCHD reviewed the case’s lab report and contacted case parties to identify potential exposures.

Over the next several days, KCHD received reports from laboratories, physician’s offices and East Tennessee Children’s Hospital of children with E. coli infection. All case parties were interviewed, and standard epidemiological protocols followed.

The majority of those who are ill reported consuming raw milk from a local cow-share dairy, French Broad Farm in Knox County.

Due to possible contamination with E. coli 0157 and out of an abundance of caution, KCHD continues to advise the public not to consume raw milk or any other unpasteurized products they may have from the farm; this includes disposing of all raw milk and unpasteurized products they may have from the farm in question.

The farm is not currently distributing milk.

In several other cases reported, children attended A Kids Place, Inc.’s Mascot location.

During the investigation, exposure to ruminant farm animals was identified as a potential source of infection. All cases were among an age group who were housed in one portion of the facility. That portion is not operating.

And, by taking infection control steps, the imminent health threat has been mitigated.

Environmental samples from the facility and animals have been collected for testing. The timeline for results is unknown.

Any further action regarding the operation of the facility will be determined by Tennessee Department of Human Services, as the facility’s regulatory authority.