Provo, UT (August 4, 2023) — In the last two weeks, eight cases of E. coli were reported in Utah County residents, with two of those cases confirmed as E. coli 0157:H7. Currently, all reported cases are residents of Lehi City or have close ties. At least five of the individuals have been hospitalized due to the severity of symptoms.
Epidemiologists are working to identify the source of infection. Preliminary investigation links the likely source of spread to using pressurized irrigation water for drinking and play.
Mark Johnson, Mayor of Lehi City, stated “This is a critical situation, and I am concerned for the public. I want residents to be aware that pressurized irrigation water should not be used for anyone to play in. No one should drink irrigation water that comes to their home.”
The Utah County Health Department, State Health Department, and City of Lehi are working to gather water samples to investigate the source of the bacteria.
Drinking and/or playing in irrigation water could pose a risk to you, your children, and pets. Pressurized irrigation water is untreated and can contain harmful contaminants like E. coli. It is important that the public take steps to reduce the risk of infection for themselves and family members:
- INDIVIDUALS SHOULD NOT DRINK IRRIGATION WATER – especially if you do not know if your water source is culinary/potable or a secondary water source, such as landscape or garden irrigation. Contact your local City Public Works office with any questions about a city’s water source.
- INDIVIDUALS SHOULD NOT USE IRRIGATION WATER FOR PLAY – such as slip-and-slides, inflatable bounce houses, kiddie pools, sprinklers, etc.
If you see or notice any of the following symptoms, contact a Healthcare Provider:
- Bloody diarrhea
- Persistent diarrhea
E. coli can be transmitted from person to person. Good handwashing and hygiene are necessary to prevent the spread. If you have questions about watering your garden or consuming produce from your garden, please visit this article from USU Extension.
For questions concerning E. coli infections, please contact a healthcare provider.
Media questions and interviews will not be granted at this time.
Public Information Officer