E. Coli infection in Inverness

10/03/2013

An Inverness resident was hospitalized due to a foodborne E. Coli infection, Marin health officials said. An outbreak in Marin led to five confirmed and one presumptive case since Sept. 22, resulting in four hospitalizations. No single cause has been identified, but county and state officials are continuing an investigation. All the patients have been discharged and are now stable or fully recovered, said Marin County Public Health Officer Dr. Matt Willis. The six patients, four of whom are children, are residents of Inverness, Tiburon, San Anselmo and San Rafael. The county’s Environmental Health Services and Department of Health and Human Services are working with the California Department of Public Health to gather information from clinicians, patients and food vendors to determine if the cases may be linked to a common source. Inspections where food may have been bought or consumed uncovered no contaminated products or evidence of any continued risk to the general public. A regional public health laboratory and a state laboratory are performing a new technique on the bacteria known as DNA fingerprinting to determine if others have been infected with the same strain, Dr. Willis said. The county averages about five cases of E. coli each year. Children, older adults and those with a compromised immune system are most susceptible to the infection. “This is one of the reasons why routine, everyday food hygiene is so important,” Dr. Willis noted. The county will provide updates online at marinhhs.org as the investigation continues.