26 visitors infected with O-157 E.Coli bacteria
Okinawa Prefecture Department of Public Health and Community Medical Care Division announced that 26 men and women who visited Okinawa since July 20 were infected with O-157 strain of E.coli bacteria. 22 of the infected persons suffered from symptoms like stomachache, diarrhea and bloody feces with 13 of them hospitalized. The infected persons have already left the hospital and are recovering.
According to the Health Division, this was the first O157 infection since 2006. Health officials pinpointed the source of the infection to sugar cane juice from juice bar ‘Fruit Chaya’ in the Okinawa World theme park in Tamagusuku, Nanjo City. The bar was ordered to suspend business from Sep. 3rd to 6th.
According to officials at the Prefecture Health Division, inspectors could not find O157 bacteria in the facility or in ingredients used for the juice. However, they came to the conclusion that the source of O157 bacteria was the juice bar because the genes of the bacteria were the same, and all of the infected had bought cane juice from the bar. The bar operator say they sell about 100 sugar cane juice drinks per day, and no bacteria has been detected before.
Officials at Nanto Bussan, the company that manages the facility, said that they hope all 26 patients would get well soon. The company received guidance from the Health Division although no bacteria were found. Officials also said that specific measures to prevent a reoccurrence are currently under consideration.