By: Jory Lange

Utah public health officials are investigating a spike in E. coli cases, possibly part of an emerging E. coli outbreak in Utah. Utah Department of Health epidemiologist Kenneth Davis says, “It’s about a 50 percent increase than what we were expecting.”

Image/ National Atlas of the United States
Image/ National Atlas of the United States

Investigators are working to identify a source. Many of the people infected with E. coli had recently visited corn mazes, farms, and petting zoos in Utah. The E. coli infections are occurring across Utah, primarily along the Wasatch Front and in central and southwest Utah.

6 people have been hospitalized. 11 children have been infected with E. coli as part of this outbreak. The youngest person infected with E. coli in this outbreak is just 10 months old. Adults have also been affected. The oldest person infected with E. coli in this outbreak is 71 years old.

20 cases of E. coli infections have been identified in Utah since October 1, 2018. “This increase in October is higher than normally expected,” said Mr. Davis.

The Utah Department of Health is working with local health departments in Utah to investigate the illnesses and identify the source of these E. coli infections.

Mr. Davis believes the spike may be contributed from people failing to wash their hands after being around farm animals. “Just being in contact with any sort of manure is a good way to get E. Coli,” Davis said.