Officials are investigating what’s caused one of the worst E. coli outbreaks in East Tennessee. 10 patients all under the age of 4 have gone to the hospital in little more than a week as health officials say either raw milk or farm animal exposure is likely to blame.
East Tennessee Children’s Hospital Chief Medical Officer Dr. Joe Childs says four children were being treated for kidney failure.
The Knox County Health Department issued an alert Tuesday, saying most of the ill children had consumed raw milk from French Broad Farm in Mascot. The department says that for now, people shouldn’t consume raw milk or any other unpasteurized products from the cow-share dairy.
Department Director Dr. Martha Buchanan says drinking raw milk is a risk because bacteria like E. coli cannot be seen with the naked eye. Buchanan says roughly 1,800 E. coli bacteria can sit on the head of a pin, and around 10 could make someone sick.