Fresh strawberries linked to E.coli outbreak

By Marissa Harshman, Columbian health reporter

Published:

 

Clark County health officials are urging people to throw away fresh strawberries purchased before Aug. 1 after an E.coli outbreak has been linked to a Newberg strawberry farm.

Oregon health officials identified fresh strawberries from the Jaquith Strawberry Farm in Newberg, Ore., as the source of a cluster of E.coli O157:H7 infections that sickened at least 10 people last month, including one person who died from kidney failure associated with the infection.

Strawberries grown in Washington have not been linked to the outbreak and there have been no reports of illness in Southwest Washington, however, the berries were sold at farmers markets and roadside fruit stands in the area.

Clark County Public Health is urging people who purchased strawberries from farmers markets or roadside stands in Southwest Washington or Oregon before Aug. 1 to throw away the berries if they don't know where the berries were grown. That includes strawberries that may have been frozen or made into jam without properly cooking the berries.

The farm sold its strawberries to buyers who resold them at roadside stands and farmers markets.

The farm finished its strawberry season in late July. Its strawberries are no longer on the market.

The advisory does not include any other berries, strawberries sold since Aug. 1, strawberries sold south of Benton County or east of Multnomah County, strawberries sold in supermarkets or strawberries picked at Jaquith Strawberry Farm’s U-pick field.

E.coli O157:H7 can cause mild to severe intestinal illness, including severe cramps and diarrhea that is often bloody. About 5 percent of infected people, especially young children and the elderly, suffer serious and potentially fatal kidney damage.