Lehi E. coli outbreak: 2-year-old girl remains hospitalized after kidney failure
Sep 20, 2023, 6:29 PM
LEHI — The E. coli outbreak tied to Lehi’s irrigation water has grown to 13 cases and seven hospitalizations.
The revelation of a new, lab-confirmed case of E. coli O157 comes after weeks of no new cases.
Lehi confirmed with KSL TV that the person in the most recent case was exposed to irrigation water at the end of August, which was after the city shock-treated two of its reservoirs in an attempt to lower the levels of bacteria.
“12 out of the 13 cases had confirmed (pressurized irrigation) water exposure,” the city said in a press release. “The investigation linked the source of the cases to using pressurized irrigation for drinking and recreation, such as running through sprinklers or playing on slip-n-slides, bounce houses, kiddie pools, and outside water tables.”
The city said there’s no evidence any of the cases came from simply playing on grass or a playground.
The mother of 2-year-old Rosie Pantos confirmed with KSL that the toddler is still hospitalized for E. coli treatment at Primary Children’s Hospital.
Zoie Crystal said testing confirmed the strain is the same one linked to Lehi’s irrigation water. She said Rosie has been hospitalized since Sept. 3 and is undergoing treatment for kidney failure—which included eight dialysis treatments and four blood transfusions.
Lehi said its water department will continue to treat the Sandpit Reservoir with copper sulfate through the end of the irrigation season, which ends on October 15.
But the city warns that even with the treatment the irrigation water won’t reach the standard of drinking water.
“Since this is the first time in 30 years that the pressurized irrigation water is being treated, it’s too soon to know the effectiveness of the treatment,” city spokesperson Jeanteil Livingston told KSL TV.
Livingston said the focus over the next month will be to continue to treat the Sandpit Reservoir and also educate residents about the difference between drinking water and irrigation water.
Also, the city has a new information sheet about the water systems that will be provided to new residents.
The city reminded of the following safety measures if residents choose to continue using the irrigation water,
· Do not drink pressurized irrigation (PI) water (this includes pets).
· Do not play in PI water.
· Irrigation water should not be used for bounce houses, pools, slip-n-slides, etc.
· Though there are not Lehi cases linked to uncooked produce, be cautious with produce from your garden. It currently recommended by the CDC that you do not consume uncooked produce from your personal garden.
· Keep outside toys out of the mouth of children.
· Always practice good hygiene of thoroughly washing hands and keeping hands out of the mouth.
· You can safely handle contaminated items with your hands without getting sick if you thoroughly wash your hands before handling food, before handling something you may put in your mouth, or before touching your mouth and nose.
For more information, visit Lehi’s E. coli information page.