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Customer Picnic Results in 1 dead, 14 hospitalized with E. coli O157 outbreak. What is your safety plan for company sponsored events?

July 29, 2012

Boy, this is the last thing you would expect or want to happen when you do a customer appreciation event! On July 3, Neff’s Lawn Care in Germantown, OH, held an annual customer appreciation picnic with over 300 people in attendance.

As a result of eating food at the picnic at least 75 individuals become ill. Here is the breakdown:

  • Of the ill, 18 have been confirmed as being infected by E. coli O157.
  • Of those, 14 were hospitalized.
  • Three individuals are experiencing hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a disease that destroys red blood cells and can cause acute kidney failure.
    • A 73-year old male died on July 24
    • A 14-year old male who was in serious condition has been released from the hospital.
    • A 4-year old girl remains hospitalized in serious condition.
  • Two secondary cases of _E. coli_ O157 have been reported, which emphasize the importance of hand washing to prevent the spread of the organism within a family unit.

Yikes…as a continuity planner (and oh yes a nurse) I am wondering a zillion things…

Public Health is continuing to gather information. Investigators are also looking at food sources, food handling and storage practices, food temperature controls, and the potential of cross contamination of the food.

Do you ever design exercises for your company’s incident management team?  This would be a great one…in that weird (sic) way you become after designing thousands of exercises (such as I). I always look at tragic events like this and ask myself, how could I turn this into a great learning experience, a great exercise?  Just imagine…you seriously impact one or two mission critical departments and a few executives and you have got a major disaster in the making!

😉

http://www.phdmc.org/news/item/update_on_e._coli_o157_outbreak_4_year_old_remains_in_hospital

http://www.phdmc.org/news/item/e._coli_o157_update_73_year_old_male_from_germantown_area_dies

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