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Monday, April 15
The Indiana Daily Student

Floyd County E. coli infections climb to 10 schoolchildren, others suspected

Cases linked to elementary school, building stays open

FLOYDS KNOBS, Ind. – The number of people infected with E. coli in Floyd County, Ind., has jumped to 10, including seven schoolchildren who suffered kidney failure and required dialysis machines, health officials said Tuesday.\nAll of the people infected are linked to Gelena Elementary School, about 15 miles northwest of Louisville, Ky. Three of the cases are not students.\nBrian Rublein, spokesman for Kosair Children’s Hospital in Louisville, said seven children were hospitalized for E. coli infections, but he said federal privacy laws prohibited him from identifying them or describing their conditions.\nA release Tuesday from county health officials also did not indicate progress toward identifying the source of the infection, but said officials were waiting on lab results for other suspected infections.\nEpidemiologists with the Indiana State Department of Health identified the strain responsible for infections in southeastern Indiana as 0157:H7, which produces a \npowerful toxin.\nAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United States has about 73,000 cases of E. coli infection and 61 deaths each year. Most cases are caused by eating \ncontaminated hamburger.\nGalena Elementary has remained open since the first infection Sept. 21, though officials say it has been cleaned regularly.\nDr. James Howell, an epidemiologist for the state, said Monday the Indiana State Department of Health saw no reason to close the school or quarantine the area.\n“It appears there is no ongoing transmission within the school,” he said.\nTom Harris, the county’s top medical officer, has defended the decision to keep Galena open and said there was no indication that E. coli was being transmitted at the school. Closing it “would not have been appropriate,” he said.\nTelephone messages were left Tuesday with Dave Rarick, spokesman for New Albany-Floyd County Schools.

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