Thursday, August 28, 2008

E. Coli Outbreak in Oklahoma--Toxins and Death

1 Dead, At Least 41 Hospitalized in Okalahoma E. Coli Outbreak

State health officials are confirming a type of E. coli bacteria has been found in 10 patients who were sickened by a severe illness in northeastern Oklahoma.

The outbreak killed 26-year-old Chad Ingle and at least 41 people have been hospitalized and several children are undergoing dialysis because of kidney failure.

Laboratory specimens will be sent to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for further analysis.

Health officials say many who became sick ate at the Country Cottage restaurant in Locust Grove but the restaurant has not been pinpointed as the site of the outbreak.

The restaurant is normally closed on Mondays and voluntarily closed yesterday and today as the investigation continues.

The illnesses are a very severe and bloody diarrhea with symptoms also including vomiting and severe abdominal cramping.


E. coli confirmed as cause of Oklahoma disease outbreak

August 27, 2008

The Oklahoma State Department of Health has now confirmed that E. coli is to blame for the recent disease outbreak in northeast Oklahoma that has caused one death and 41 hospitalizations.

In today’s news release, state epidemiologist Kristy Bradley said “Our laboratory results indicate that we are dealing with an unusual type of E. coli that produces two different types of toxins. These toxins are responsible for the very severe disease that we are seeing in many persons sickened by this outbreak.”

Local residents have been nervous about food safety in recent days because the state Health Department had released little information about the source of the illnesses. E. coli was suspected to be a cause, but the type of contamination was not confirmed until today.

State officials have referred current laboratory samples to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for further analysis. The state Department of Environmental Quality has received inconclusive results thus far from water quality tests conducted in Locust Grove, home to the County Cottage restaurant where many of the disease victims ate before becoming ill. The Country Cottage continues to remain voluntarily closed while the outbreak investigation continues.

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