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Questions and Answers related to the Outbreak of E.coli O157:H7 Infections Associated with Totino's and Jeno's Frozen Pizzas

October 31, 2007

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How many people were affected?

As of 2 PM (EST) October 31, 2007, 21 persons infected with this strain of E. coli O157:H7 have been reported to CDC from 10 states. Persons became ill between July 20 and October 10, 2007. For current information, please visit the E.coli O157:H7 outbreak website.

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Which brands of frozen pizza were associated with illness?

Products implicated in the outbreak include Totino's and Jeno's brand frozen pizzas, produced by the General Mills company, that contain pepperoni products.

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Should I return purchased frozen pizzas to the store where I bought them?

General Mills has issued a recall of these pizzas. Consumers should not eat Totino's or Jeno's brand frozen pizzas that contain pepperoni as a topping. Consumers with questions about the recall should contact the company at 1-800- 949- 9055. Representatives will provide information about how to contact the company for a full refund. Consumers are reminded to always thoroughly cook all products that are not ready-to-eat, such as frozen pizzas, according to package instructions.

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Are other frozen products, including frozen pizzas from other brands, safe to eat?

At this time only the Totino and Jeno brands of frozen pizzas are implicated in this outbreak. No other brands of frozen pizza, other pizza products, or other pepperoni products have been implicated.

Consumers should always practice safe food handling and preparation measures. This includes properly cooking all non ready-to-eat foods according to the package instructions and washing hands, utensils, and surfaces with hot, soapy water before and after handling uncooked food items.

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How long does it take for symptoms to show up after E. coli O157:H7 infection?

On average, symptoms from E. coli O157:H7 infection develop within 3 to 4 days of eating contaminated food, with a range of 1 to 10 days. Symptoms usually include severe bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps; sometimes the infection causes non-bloody diarrhea or no symptoms. Usually little or no fever is present, and the illness resolves in 5 to 10 days. In severe infection, E. coli O157:H7 can cause a type of kidney failure known as hemolytic uremic syndrome, or HUS.

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How is E. coli O157:H7 illness treated?

Most people recover without specific treatment within 5 to 10 days. Antibiotics should not be used to treat this infection, and it is thought that treatment with some antibiotics could lead to kidney complications. Antidiarrheal agents, such as loperamide (Imodium®), should also be avoided.

In some people, E. coli O157:H7 infection can cause a complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a serious condition that is usually treated in an intensive care unit. Blood transfusions and kidney dialysis are often required.

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Can E. coli O157:H7 be passed to a baby or other members of my family?

Bacteria in diarrheal stools of infected persons can be passed from one person to another if the patient and family members do not properly wash their hands with soap and water before eating and using the bathroom or otherwise maintain good hygiene. This is particularly likely among toddlers who are not toilet trained. Family members and playmates of these children may be at high risk of becoming infected. Young children typically shed the organism in their feces for a week or two after their illness resolves. Older children rarely carry the organism without symptoms. To prevent transmission to a baby, infected individuals should avoid direct contact with infants and toddlers.

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What should I do if I or someone in my family ate Totino's or Jeno's brand pizza with pepperoni?

Anyone who has eaten the product but did not become ill need not take any special action. People who are ill with diarrhea within a week of consuming this type of frozen pizza should seek medical care and let their doctor know about the exposure.

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Where do I go for more information?

For more information on E.coli O157:H7, please visit the CDC E.coli O157:H7 general information page. Updates on the investigation into Totino's and Jeno's brand frozen pizzas will be posted on the E.coli O157:H7 outbreak page.

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Page last modified: November 1, 2007

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