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Investigation of Outbreak of Human Infections Caused by E. coli O157:H7

Updated July 1, 2008

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Multistate Outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections – Michigan and Ohio

State departments of health and agriculture in Michigan and Ohio, collaborating local health jurisdictions, CDC, and the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) are investigating a multi-state outbreak of Escherichia coli O157:H7 infections. Based on this investigation, as of 5pm EST, June 30, 2008, 38 confirmed cases have been linked both epidemiologically and by molecular fingerprinting to this outbreak, 20 in Michigan and 18 in Ohio. Onset of illness in these patients occurred from 5/30/08 to 6/18/08. Nineteen ill persons have been hospitalized. One patient has developed a type of kidney failure called hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS). No deaths linked to the outbreak have been reported. Twenty-three (61%) of patients are female. Patients range in age from 4 to 78 years with a median age of 19 years.

States with cases of E. coli 0157:H7 infections with the outbreak strain

US States with Outbreak-Associated Cases of E. coli O157, June 2008

CDC and public health agencies across the United States continue surveillance activities to detect additional cases related to this outbreak.

State health and agriculture departments have tested ground beef recovered from patient residences and purchased at Kroger® retail stores in Michigan and Ohio. Molecular fingerprinting testing conducted by the Ohio and Michigan Departments of Health and Agriculture Laboratories, in collaboration with PulseNet, the national molecular subtyping network for foodborne disease surveillance, on E. coli O157 isolates isolated from these ground beef samples have confirmed the isolates to be the outbreak strain of E. coli O157.

CDC's OutbreakNet Team conducted a multi-state case-control study in collaboration with health authorities in Ohio and Michigan to epidemiologically determine an association between exposures related to E. coli O157 illness in patients. The data indicate a significant association between illness and eating ground beef purchased at one of several Kroger® Company stores in Michigan and Ohio.  CDC has provided these results to the USDA-FSIS and public health agencies in Michigan and Ohio.

On June 25, 2008, a recall was announced for ground beef sold at Kroger® Co. Stores in Michigan and Ohio.  On June 30, 2008, a second recall of 531,707 pounds of ground beef components from Nebraska Beef Ltd. was announced. More information about these recalls can be found at the United States Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service’s (USDA/FSIS) web site at FSIS has confirmed that none of the affected products remain available for purchase at stores; however consumers are urged to check their refrigerators and freezers and discard or return the ground beef products for a refund. Consumers with questions about the recall should contact the Kroger Consumer Hotline at (800) 632-6900 or James Timmerman, Nebraska Beef Ltd. Vice President of Administration at (402) 397-7300.

Consumers with food safety questions can “Ask Karen,” the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day at The toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from l0 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day. Because any raw ground beef can contain disease-causing germs, CDC and USDA-FSIS encourage consumers to use good food safety practices and to heed the following advice when preparing or consuming ground beef:

See E. coli O157:H7 for more information.

Previous Updates on this Outbreak

Page last modified: July 1, 2008
Content source: National Center for Zoonotic, Vector-Borne, and Enteric Diseases (ZVED)

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