Wednesday, October 15, 2008

E. coli O157:H7 - Vermont's Intrusive "Leaf Peeper"

The Vermont Department of Health has confirmed nine cases of E. coli O157:H7 gastroenteritis in the state; one additional suspect case awaits lab confirmation. Two of the victims are children over the age of five.

Seven of the nine confirmed victims have been infected by the identical strain of E. coli O157:H7. Genetic fingerprint results in the other two confirmed cases are pending.

We reported last weekend that four apparent E. coli O157:H7 infections were reported in Chittenden County, and three in Washington County. Those numbers – already up since our last report – may continue to rise, since primary health care providers have been alerted to watch for and report additional suspect cases.

Epidemiological investigations have pointed an accusatory finger at undercooked ground beef, served at several different restaurants. But restaurants may not have been the only recipients of the contaminated meat. According to today's news release by the state, USDA is investigating  "... product processing and distribution."

There's still no news of the final retail destinations to which the recalled Nicaraguan frozen beef trim was shipped. Could there be a connection?

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