Attendees of Montana All-Class Reunion Hit by E. coli Illnesses
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Attendees of Montana All-Class Reunion Hit by E. coli Illnesses

more than 36 people in nine states have been affected

August 3, 2016

A recent reunion in Montana has resulted in an E. coli O157 outbreak.

According to the Dawson County Health Department in Glendive, MT, more than 36 people from nine states have come down with illnesses after attending the Richey Centennial and All-Class Reunion held July 15-17. The source of the outbreak has not yet been identified.

"While we are narrowing down the source, it is too early to tell what the exact cause of the outbreak was," reads a Dawson County Health Department Facebook post. "Local food vendors have been very cooperative in this investigation. We encourage anyone who attended the event to not consume any leftover foods they may have brought back from the event and to contact their local health department if they still have leftover food, in case it may become of interest."

Officials have asked reunion attendees to complete an online survey aimed at uncovering the cause of the illnesses.

E. coli can cause severe diarrhea that is often bloody, severe abdominal pain, and vomiting. Usually, little or no fever is present. One severe symptom is the contraction of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which can result in decreased urine production, dark or tea-colored urine, and facial pallor.

"The incubation period of E. coli has passed from the initial event, however since it can be passed from person to person, there is a potential for a second wave of infections. The bacteria can be shed by previously infected people for several weeks, even after symptoms go away. Good hand washing is the best way to protect yourself, your family and other persons," the county has stated.

The Dawson County Health Department and the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services are working together on the outbreak.