Seventh case of E. coli bacteria confirmed


Tuesday, October 19th 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6


TULSA, Okla. (AP) -- Seven people have fallen ill from an
outbreak of E. coli poisoning in the Tulsa-area, most of them
children, according to health authorities.

All seven of the confirmed cases had a history of drinking
unpasteurized apple cider from Livesay Orchards in Wagoner County,
officials said.

Five children, aged 2 through 11, fell ill last week, and two
cases have since been confirmed, said Dr. Mike Crutcher, state
epidemiologist with the Oklahoma Health Department.

One was a woman in her 30s who drank cider from Livesay
Orchards, as did five children who became ill, authorities said.
The other was a 13-year-old girl, who remained hospitalized Monday
in fair condition. A 4-year-old girl was in serious condition with
kidney failure, an 11-year-old boy was in serious condition and a
6-year-old boy was in fair condition. The woman was not
hospitalized.

"We're certainly on the alert and looking for others,"
Crutcher said. Four other children are believe to have contracted
the bacteria but it hasn't been confirmed, he said.

Of the confirmed cases linked to the cider, they all drank it
around the first week in October. Two of the children are siblings,
Crutcher said.

He warned northeastern Oklahoma residents not to drink the
unpasteurized cider from Livesay Orchards in Porter. The cider was
only marketed in the Tulsa area and sold in half-gallon and
one-gallon containers.

"There still may be more cases, but it doesn't look like it's a
huge outbreak," Crutcher said.

Symptoms of E. coli typically appear a few days after exposure.
They include watery diarrhea, nausea, abdominal cramps, low-grade
fevers and blood in the stool. Crutcher said anyone who has
consumed the cider and has such symptoms should contact a doctor.

E. coli starts to destroy the organs and can lead to
hemolytic-uremic syndrome, a disease that destroys red blood cells
and causes kidney failure.

Ken Livesay, co-owner of Livesay Orchards, said last week that
the outbreak is the first suspicion of any problem in nearly 20
years of making cider.

Livesay Orchards has about 20 acres of apples and 10 employees.
Cider is made from apples that are picked from trees, graded for
quality and washed before being pressed in a stainless steel unit.

The FDA estimates that up to 48,000 people are sickened each
year by such microbes as salmonella in untreated orange juice and
E. coli in apple cider and juice. Crutcher said this was the first
E. coli outbreak in Oklahoma involving unpasteurized apple cider.