Multi-state outbreak of E-coli 0157 infections, November-December 2006
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Multi-state outbreak of E-coli 0157 infections, November-December 2006

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      Thursday, December 14, 2006, 13:50 EST (1:50 PM EST) CDCHAN-00255-2006-12-14-UPD-N As of Wednesday, December 13, 2006, 71 persons have become ill with Escherichia coli 0157:H7 associated with eating contaminated lettuce at Taco Bell restaurants in the northeastern United States. Cases have been reported to CDC from five states: New Jersey (33), New York (22), Pennsylvania (13), Delaware (2) and South Carolina (1). Other cases of illness are under investigation by state public health officials. Among the 71 persons with illness, 53 (75 %) were hospitalized and 8 (11%) developed a type of kidney failure called hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS). Illness onset dates have ranged from November 20-December 6. New cases have declined substantially. The last week of November was the peak time when persons became ill. Of the 71 persons with illness, 48 have been confirmed as cases. Strains are routinely "DNA fingerprinted" by laboratories in all 50 states as part of CDC's PulseNet Network (the network of public health laboratories that subtype bacteria). E. coli 0157 strains from other cases are being tested by PulseNet. As a result of testing, cases found with the outbreak strain "fingerprint" are being re-classified as confirmed cases and cases with an unrelated "fingerprint" pattern are being dropped from the case count. There have been no illnesses with onset within the past 5 days among identified cases, including suspects; therefore, the outbreak has ended. Concerning the outbreak of E. coli O157 infections associated with Taco John's restaurants, Minnesota and Iowa are reporting 27 and 50 associated illnesses, respectively. Isolates from these outbreaks cases of E. coli O157 demonstrate indistinguishable patterns, confirming that the two clusters are linked. However, this pattern is distinct from the Taco Bell outbreak pattern. One other matching isolate from Wisconsin has been identified. Investigators in Minnesota and Iowa have independently identified lettuce as the contaminated food vehicle in that outbreak. Trace back efforts are underway.
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