Foodborne Illness Outbreak Database

This database provides summaries of significant food and water related outbreaks occurring since 1984 caused by E. coli, Salmonella, Hepatitis A, Campylobacter and other pathogens. Read more »

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1992 E. coli O157:H7 Linked Commercially Distributed Unpasteurized Milk

Commercially sold, raw milk, from a single dairy in Oregon was implicated in a prolonged outbreak of E.coli O157:H7. The outbreak was first detected in April, 1993 when six cases were identified. At the time the sale of raw milk from grocery stores was legal. The public was told of the hazards of drinking raw milk, however sales of the milk were allowed to continue. Legal analysis suggested that Oregon public health agencies lacked clear authority to restrict milk sales unless it could be demonstrated that specific containers destined for sale were contaminated. E. coli O157:H7 had not been isolated from the milk. Additional E. coli O157:H7 cases linked to the milk were identified in June, 1993. In December, 1993, the milk was required to carry a label that warned that the milk could contain disease-producing organisms. The dairy agreed to suspend retail sales if additional cases were identified. In May, 1994, six additional cases were identified. The court restricted further sale of this milk, however secret sales persisted until October, 1995. At that time the dairy owner was fined and jailed for contempt of court. At least three indistinguishable strains of E.coli O157:H7 were identified and matched strains isolated from cattle on the dairy.

  • Outbreak began:
  • December 1992
  • Affected Country:
  • US
  • Affected States/Territories:
  • Oregon
  • Organism(s):
  • E. coli O157:H7
  • Vehicle(s):
  • Dairy, Milk, Unpasteurized, Raw Milk
  • Molecular Results Available:
  • Yes
  • Test Results:
  • Unknown
  • Location(s):
  • Grocery stores
  • Brand Name(s):
  • Product Subject to Recall:
  • Unknown
  • Total ill:
  • 14
  • Number ill by Case Definition Known:
  • Unknown
  • Number Laboratory Confirmed Cases:
  • N/A
  • Number Probable Cases:
  • N/A
  • Number Possible Cases:
  • N/A
  • Anyone Hospitalized:
  • Yes
  • Number Hospitalized:
  • 2
  • Any Deaths:
  • Unknown
  • Number Dead:
  • Unknown
  • Any References:
  • Yes

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