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MDH: Pumpkin Patch Petting Zoo Infects 3 Children With E. Coli

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DAYTON, Minn. (WCCO) – Three people have confirmed E. coli infections from a Minnesota pumpkin patch petting zoo, according to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).

The three cases are all children – from 15 months old to 7 years old – and one child is hospitalized with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a serious complication of an E. coli infection characterized by kidney failure.

The other two children were not hospitalized and are recovering. The three victims visited Dehn’s Pumpkins in Dayton, Minn., on Oct. 12-13 and became ill on Oct. 16 or Oct. 18.

Each child reported having contact with cattle and or goats at Dehn’s. The farm owners have been cooperating fully with the investigation, and public access to the cattle and goat areas is being prohibited.

The rest of the farm – including the pumpkin patch – remains open for business. Jenna Dehn says there is still plenty to do at her family’s business.

“You can still enjoy all the fall activities, but just don’t pet the animals if you want to be extra cautious,” Dehn said.

E. coli 0157:H7 is commonly found in cattle and goats, says the MDH, and this type of exposure is not unique to Dehn’s Pumpkins. Outbreaks associated with contact with farm animals are documented nearly every year in Minnesota.

Symptoms of illness caused by E. coli O157:H7 typically include severe stomach cramps and diarrhea.

The MDH says anyone who visited Dehn’s since Oct. 12 should see a doctor immediately if they’re having any symptoms.

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