Thursday, September 11, 2008

Oklahoma E. coli Investigation Running Out Of Gas

Oklahoma's State Department of Health reported today that none of the food samples submitted for lab analysis yielded E. coli O111. 

While waiting for the lab results, investigators continued with their interviews yesterday, and now have spoken with more than 1,500 restaurant patrons. OSDH continues to beat the bushes in an effort to uncover additional people to interview, but the state is probably coming face-to-face with the law of diminishing returns.

The extensive series of interviews has turned up additional cases of E. coli O111 gastroenteritis. OSDH now says that at least 248 people fell victim to the outbreak – 202 adults and 46 children. Sixty-four people were hospitalized, and 16 of them required dialysis. Nine of the dialysis patients were children.

In an interview yesterday, the State Epidemiologist, Dr. Kristy Bradley, spoke for the first time of the possibility that a restaurant employee might have been a carrier of the outbreak strain. According to Dr. Bradley, the Country Cottage employed 58 food handlers. 

We suggested several days ago that a human carrier might be the source of the outbreak. OSDH has been very forthcoming in discussing the number of interviews it is conducting, and releasing the negative lab results obtained from environmental and equipment swabs, food samples and well water. But Dr. Bradley has said nothing at all about the Department's investigation – if any – of restaurant employees.

Have we missed something?


  1. I think I mentioned to you that Daughter had visited with a friend who works for OSDH. He mentioned they were having trouble getting some of the employees to come in and get tested. They were not Legal and afraid of being deported. I took it from that they were checking that as a posibility but maybe did not want it public info. as that may scare even more for fear of being accused of being the source?

  2. An article yesterday said more cases maybe. The restaurant had catered food for a Church Fundraiser in a near by town. Article was not real clear about new cases and what was catered??

  3. I've updated the Oklahoma story this evening. As best as I can tell, about 30 people from the Church event became ill (out of 250). I don't think that the precise microbe has been confirmed yet. I also have yet to see details on what items were catered, except that the range of items was more limited than what was available at the restaurant buffet that same weekend.

    You can read my update here:

    BTW, according to a news item I've linked to in the update, the employees were tested, with negative results, although several complained of having been ill.


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