The Knox County, Tennessee, Health Department has issued a warning after nearly 10 children have been hospitalized at the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital with E. coli after drinking raw milk from a farm.
The Knox County Health Department said they believe they have linked the E. coli 0157 infection to raw milk from French Broad Farm in Mascot. They recommend consumers dispose of all raw milk and unpasteurized products from the farm.
The East Tennessee Children’s Hospital says children and the elderly are at greatest risk for severe illness or death from E. coli infection.
Found in the environment, foods, and intestines of people and animals, E. coli bacteria, sometimes when ingested, can cause an infection resulting in severe stomach cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, and kidney failure. In severe cases, E. coli infection can cause death. Children experiencing these symptoms should receive medical care as soon as possible.
In Tennessee, the sale of raw milk for human consumption is illegal in almost all instances — the lone exception being share programs. either cow
shares, herd shares, or farm shares. Some news outlets have reported that French Broad Farm is a cow-share dairy.
People can be exposed to the bacteria from a number of sources. The following are some of the most common.
- Raw milk (milk that has not been pasteurized to kill harmful bacteria)
- Undercooked meat
- Unwashed, contaminated raw fruits and vegetables
- Animal feces
- Contaminated bodies of water
The Children’s Hospital says parents and caregivers can help prevent E.coli infection by taking the following steps.
- Avoid consuming raw milk or dairy products made from raw milk.
- Cook meat to an internal temperature recommended by the FDA.
- Wash raw fruits and vegetables.
- Wash hands well before eating.
- Don’t drink the water from a pool, lake, or river.
Updates to this article will be made as more information becomes available.