Oahu's Food Poisoning Outbreak Under The Microscope

Flickr: prep4md

For weeks now, public health epidemiologists in Hawaii have been working overtime to determine the source of an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak that has resulted in as many as nine - perhaps 10 - illnesses among residents of Oahu and one Canadian tourist. Four of those have been hospitalized with three developing potentially life-threatening acute kidney failure caused by hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).

These public health epidemiologists have interviewed the E. coli victims, asking about foods they ate in the 5 days before becoming ill, whether they visited petting zoos, or if they were all exposed to another potential environmental source of E. coli bacteria. Their goal is to protect us—to make sure they stop the outbreak and hope to figure out why it happened in the first place.

What’s going on in Hawaii is epidemiology at its finest.

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