Four students have been hospitalized due to an E. coli outbreak at the University of Arkansas


Health officials are investigating an outbreak of E. coli food poisoning among students at the University of Arkansas, where dozens reported symptoms and at least four required hospital treatment.

Among those affected are two 19-year-old sorority members who developed serious complications that could lead to kidney failure after being infected with E. coli O157:H7. That’s according to Bill Marler, a Seattle-based food safety attorney, who said he reviewed patients’ medical records after their families contacted them.

One of the students remains in the intensive care unit of a local hospital on Tuesday, Marler said, while the other has gone home to recover.

About 100 students have reported symptoms of an E. coli infection, officials with the Arkansas Department of Health said, though it’s not clear how many people are part of the outbreak. Officials are analyzing responses from a survey of more than 3,200 people to try to pinpoint the source of the illnesses.

Health officials said in a statement Monday that the outbreak, which likely began before Aug. 18, did not appear to be associated with the university’s public dining facilities. Classes began at the University of Arkansas on August 21.

Escherichia coli bacteria live in the intestines of humans and animals. Some strains, including Escherichia coli O157:H7, produce dangerous toxins that can lead to serious illness and even death in humans. Common sources of E. coli outbreaks include ground beef and leafy greens.

Symptoms of E. coli food poisoning include a fever higher than 102 degrees Fahrenheit, diarrhea for more than three days, severe vomiting, dehydration, and dizziness.


The Associated Press Health and Science Division receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Education Media Group. AP is solely responsible for all content.

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