The CDC, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) and the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) all posted update reports on the E. coli O157:H7 outbreak investigation today.
According to CDC's consolidated report, 35 cases have been confirmed in this outbreak as of June 27th – 17 in Michigan and 18 in Ohio. Nineteen of the victims have been hospitalized.
ODH reports that it is investigating an additional 5 possible cases of E. coli O157:H7 illnesses to determine whether any of them are related to this outbreak. Michigan advises that, as of noon today, it has confirmed a total of 20 outbreak cases. Twelve of those patients required hospitalization.
Michigan also reports that "over half" of the confirmed cases in that state either prepared or consumed hamburger meat purchased from Kroger. This begs the question of how the remaining victims became infected with the outbreak strain. Were they the recipients of secondary infection, perhaps as a result of caring for one of the primary victims? Or was meat contaminated by the outbreak strain also sold elsewhere than in Kroger supermarkets?
Since the initial recall announcement on June 25th, neither Kroger nor USDA has released any information on the source of the contaminated meat that was sold in Kroger stores in Michigan and Northern Ohio. Unless Kroger's record-keeping is seriously defective, it shouldn't take very long to identify its meat supplier.
Is Kroger's supplier dragging its feet on a possible recall?