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UPDATE: PVSD Revises E. coli Statement

The Perkiomen Valley School District sent a revised message to parents, stating that no strain of E. coli has been determined.

Oct. 10 Update:

The Perkiomen Valley School District has released a revised statement regarding the potential Escherichia (E.) Coli diagnosis of a South Elementary School student:

"On Oct. 9, the Perkiomen Valley School District issued an email alert to families regarding what we thought was a confirmed case of E. coli O157:H7," the release said. "It has since come to our attention that no particular strain of E. coli has yet been determined."

Montgomery County Communications Director Frank Custer said that, while the 0157:H7 strain of E. coli was ruled out, it could be a different strain of that bacteria - or something completely different.

"The [Montgomery County] health department has sent materials to the state for futher analysis," Custer said.  "We will be hearing back in the next several days."

PVSD's message also says that, regardless of the diagnosis, this serves as a reminder for hand-washing techniques.

"The intent of our initial email was to remind everyone of the importance of washing one’s hands to prevent the spread of germs, and that message still holds true," the release said.  "We hope families will refer to the hand-washing instructions that were sent out previously and keep them in mind for the protection and safety of their loved ones."

Oct. 9 Orginal Story:

The Perkiomen Valley School District (PVSD) released a message to parents today stating that a South Elementary School student was clinically diagnosed with Escherichia (E.) Coli 0157:H7 after visiting a local farm.

The student did not attend school for the duration of the illness, and the case was reported to the Montgomery County Health Department, according to the school district.

While some E.coli strands are harmless, 0157:H7 produces powerful toxins which can cause severe illness, according to Pennsylvania Department of Health (PDH) information that was distributed in the message to parents.

Symptoms of this E.coli strain include stomach cramps, vomiting, bloody diarrhea and dehydration, which normally start three to four days after coming into contact with the bacteria and will last for roughly a week, according to the PDH.

While most people recover from these symptoms, they can progress to a more serious medical issue called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), according to PDH. Symptoms include decreased urination, unexplained bruises, a pale or swollen appearance, bleeding from the nose or gums, seizures and fatigue. This issue is life-threatening and requires hospitalization.

For more information on E. coli, visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

E. coli 0157:H7 is spread through contaminated food or water, or from other infected people. At-risk food includes undercooked ground beef, produce grown in certain manure, produce washed in contaminated water and unpasteurized dairy or juice products, according to the PDH.

The bacteria can also be transmitted from person to person on unwashed hands and surfaces, by touching animals at farms or petting zoos, or by swimming in contaminated water, according to PVSD.

The school requests that parents talk to children about proper hand-washing techniques to control the spread of bacteria.

Margaret Vechy October 09, 2012 at 09:31 PM
Can you tell me why the specific school and farm ?
Nicole Reitnauer October 09, 2012 at 09:53 PM
Do they know which farm the student visited?
Brittany Tressler (Editor) October 09, 2012 at 09:57 PM
That information has not been released yet, but I am working to obtain it - I will update the article as I do.
Nick Matregrano October 10, 2012 at 12:17 AM
This could be another Merrymaid Farm incident. Children pet or come in contact with farm animals, eat or drink without washing their hands and bingo, E. coli. That could possibly be the culprit.
Margaret Vechy October 10, 2012 at 10:51 AM
Brittany, that is not cool they did not release the info. This does not help protect the consumer. Just allows for rumor and speculation. Hope we learn soon
Brittany Tressler (Editor) October 10, 2012 at 12:40 PM
I've updated the article - the school was South Elementary.
Rose Becht October 10, 2012 at 01:06 PM
Merrymead does everything they can to prevent the customers from petting the animals by having fences in front of the goat pen and the calves are about 3-4 ft from the fence in their own little enclosures. Handwashing stations are available i think parents need to enforce the handwashing a little bit more then they are!
Brittany Tressler (Editor) October 10, 2012 at 01:27 PM
I've received no information that the farm was Merrymead - I just want to make that clear!
Montgomery Resident October 10, 2012 at 03:52 PM
I think the push to find what 'specific' farm the child was at is completely outrageous. After seeing the destruction of Merrymeads reputation after their outbreak was linked, why would ANYONE want to do that to another local farm, seeing how there are practically NONE around. The individiual farmer did not infect the child, nor could the farmer PREVENT IT. If you are visiting a farm, it is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to make sure you KNOW HOW TO WASH YOUR HANDS. "If you don’t wash your hands carefully after touching an animal or its environment, you could get an E. coli infection"- www.foodsaftey.gov ---Therefore, Ecoli could be contracted ANYTIME you touch an animal and don't wash your hands. Parents, If you and your children don't know how to wash your hands, please DO NOT go visitng a local farm and then blame the innocent farmer and his reputation on your irresponsibility.
Montgomery Resident October 10, 2012 at 04:10 PM
I think the push to find what 'specific' farm the child was at is completely outrageous. After seeing the destruction of Merrymeads reputation after their outbreak was linked, why would ANYONE want to do that to another local farm, seeing how there are practically NONE around, encouraging factory farming. The individiual farmer did not infect the child, nor could the farmer PREVENT IT. If you are visiting a farm, it is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to make sure you KNOW HOW TO WASH YOUR HANDS. "If you don’t wash your hands carefully after touching an animal or its environment, you could get an E. coli infection"- www.foodsaftey.gov ---Therefore, Ecoli could be contracted ANYTIME you touch an animal and don't wash your hands. Parents, If you and your children don't know how to wash your hands, please DO NOT go visitng a local farm and then blame the innocent farmer and his reputation on your irresponsibility.
Collegeville mom October 10, 2012 at 04:54 PM
Well said Montgomery Resident. Merrymead is an awesome farm!
Margaret Vechy October 10, 2012 at 05:49 PM
I agree with Montgomery Resident. I meant to say by releasing the "farm" would stop rumors, but at the same time backing the fact that the "farm" did not cause the child to be sick. Parents need to take responsibility for the actions of taking their children any activity. Until they were sure about where the e-coli came from the fact the child visited a "farm" should not have been even mentioned.
Montgomery mom October 10, 2012 at 06:41 PM
I really would like to know which farm it is - Since at most local farms around here (including Merrymead) you cannot touch the animals, then how did the child get it? That's more concerning to me, since that means that there's something else they're touching that's contaminated.
Montgomery Resident October 10, 2012 at 06:55 PM
As said in the article itself- "E. coli 0157:H7 is spread through contaminated food or water, or from other infected people. At-risk food includes undercooked ground beef, produce grown in certain manure, produce washed in contaminated water and unpasteurized dairy or juice products, according to the PDH." How can anyone be 100% sure this strand came from ANY farm? What if the child got it from one of these other sources? I just think it's wrong that now, without ANY proof (or at least that we know of) these 'accusations' are now making ALL local farms look suspicious. If someone were to get sick from another illness transferred from some bacteria that can come from multiple sources, what right does ANYONE have to automatically blame a farm???
Roy Martin October 10, 2012 at 06:59 PM
Good..I was afraid to go out of the house...Now I can...
Brittany Tressler (Editor) October 10, 2012 at 07:07 PM
I just want to make sure that all people who commented are aware of the revised statement from PVSD, posted above. This article will be updated as soon as more information is available.
zmom October 10, 2012 at 07:19 PM
True you cant touch the animals but you can touch the fencing and other barriers around the farm. If a farmhand touches an animal then the gate that gate is now likely has some form of bacteria. I have 2 young kids, they like to touch and put their mouths on everything. Farmers cant and shouldnt be expected to sanitize everything. It is the parents responsibility to ensure proper precautions are taken to diminish the risk of the child becoming ill. But sometimes even the best precautions cant 100% prevent a child from becoming ill.
Warren Jacobs October 11, 2012 at 01:14 PM
I guess if you want to know, you need to do detective work. Gee, where to start? Well, it's true there aren't that many farms left. Of the handful, which have political connections that could influence the county health department to shield them ?

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