E. Coli Cases 50 Percent Higher Than Normal

Oct 25, 2018, 8:01 PM | Updated: 9:23 pm

WEST JORDAN, Utah – The number of E. coli illness cases have been significantly higher than average for October. according to the Utah Department of Health. They’ve advised being extremely cautious out in the community.

At The Farm at Gardner Village, Director Gil Ma said he and his staff encourage visitors to use hand sanitizer, and to keep their hands clean – something Utah Department of Health epidemiologists have asked people to do as well.

The advice came after the number of E. Coli-related illnesses spiked, with 20 cases so far, six people hospitalized. An average October usually sees around 11 illnesses.

“We try to keep the stalls clean,” Ma said. “The dumpster comes twice a week to haul off the manure, so we try to keep it clean for not only the animals, but the people as well.”

Utah Department Health investigators do not know the exact cause of the increase in E. coli cases, but said a number of people who fell ill have reported that they had recently visited corn mazes, petting zoos, and farms. Epidemiologist Kenneth Davis said he’s not asking people to stay away from animals, but to rather remain cautious.

“It’s really important to wash your hands directly after coming into contact with the animals. And then especially before you eat food,” Davis said.

The Utah Department of Health warns that you should contact a doctor if you have diarrhea lasting for more than three days, or is accompanied by a high fever, blood in the stool, or excessive vomiting.

Ma, who has run a non-profit animal rescue and petting zoo at The Farm, says he’s been reminding people for several years to clean up after visits. That way, he hopes people can enjoy farm animals much in the way he does.

“They’ve been my therapy. (I) didn’t have the greatest childhood,” Ma said. “This has been my refuge and my therapy, to rescue other animals and people that couldn’t do it for themselves.”

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E. Coli Cases 50 Percent Higher Than Normal