State health officials hope to learn this week whether deer are the source of an E. coli outbreak in northwestern Oregon linked to fresh strawberries.
Dr. Paul Cieslak (SEE-slak) of the Oregon Public Health Division said Tuesday that samples of soil and deer droppings collected from fields at the Jacquith Strawberry Farm in Newberg, 25 miles southwest of Portland, are being analyzed and results should be available in a few days.
He says it has been known since 1997 that deer can carry the bacteria, but investigators don't know why it has never shown up in strawberries before.
One elderly woman died and six people have been hospitalized due to the outbreak. DNA testing on the bacteria now confirms 13 cases can be traced to the strawberry farm.
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