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Foodborne and Diarrheal Diseases Branch

Multistate Outbreak of E. coli O157 Infections, November-December 2006

Updated December 6, 2006


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NOTE: This document is provided for historical purposes. The content of this document has not been revised since its original release and therefore may no longer be up to date.

As of 1 PM (ET) December 6, 2006, Wednesday, 43 cases associated with this outbreak have been reported to CDC from 4 states: New Jersey (20), New York (15), Pennsylvania (7), and Delaware (1).

The vast majority of patients reported eating at a particular fast food restaurant chain, Taco Bell. No specific food has been implicated yet.

Illness onset dates have ranged from November 20 to December 2. The risk to the public is considered ongoing and we expect additional cases to be identified in the coming days.

Reports of green onions as the source is based only on preliminary testing contracted by the restaurant chain and has not been confirmed. Additional investigation is needed to determine which specific food ingredients may be the source of illness.

E. coli O157 strains from all states are “fingerprinted” at public health laboratories, as part of PulseNet (the network of public health laboratories that sub-type bacteria). Results of this testing will be reported in PulseNet. These results will help determine whether the cases are all part of the same outbreak, and whether other cases may be related.

CDC is working with state and local health officials, USDA, FDA, and the fast food chain to investigate the outbreak and to help take action to protect the public.

E. coli O157 causes diarrhea that is often bloody and accompanied by severe abdominal cramps, but fever is absent or mild. Persons who have developed such symptoms after eating at a Taco Bell in an affected state are advised to consult a physician and to inform their local health department.

For more information on E. coli infection, please refer to the following website:

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Page last modified December 6, 2006
Content source: National Center for Infectious Diseases

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