More residents are expected to be infected with _E. coli_ bacteria in
an outbreak that has already sickened at least 23 people across the
St. Louis region and may be linked to produce at area groceries. The
confirmed _E. coli_ cases were 1st reported early this week and
include 16 in St. Louis County, 2 in Jefferson County, 2 in St.
Charles County, 2 in the city of St. Louis and one in St. Clair
County. The ages range from 11 to 94, and at least 6 people were
St. Louis County health officials confirmed that the source of the _E.
coli_ 0157 strain was food-borne but said that the investigation was
ongoing and that not all of the affected people had been interviewed.
More cases are expected because the incubation period for the illness
can be as long as 10 days.
Scientists with the CDC, who investigate multi-state food-borne
disease outbreaks, are expected to arrive in St. Louis over the
weekend. Though groceries have not been asked to pull any food,
Schnucks voluntarily replaced or removed some produce in salad bars
and shelves. "Once we heard that the health department had declared an
outbreak, we took some proactive steps with our food safety team to
switch products out that recent history told us could be potential
sources," said Schnucks spokeswoman Lori Willis.
Schnucks on Clayton Road in Richmond Heights voluntarily pulled
strawberries, lettuce and croutons out of its salad bar on Wed 26 Oct
2011, according to deli manager Mike Reardon. "It was just a
precautionary move," Reardon said, adding, "As far as I know, there
haven't been any problems with anything we've sold." Reardon said he
knew of no one who had called to complain about getting sick after
eating food from the store.
Another Schnucks store, Culinaria in downtown St. Louis, put a sign up
on empty shelves that read in part, "Due to a voluntary recall on
pre-packed lettuce, we will not be able to produce these pre-made
salads. Be assured quality is our main concern. All of the lettuce on
the salad bar is fresh and not involved with the recall."
St. Louis County health officials said they became concerned starting
Monday [24 Oct 2011] when they learned from hospitals of a large
number of cases. The county reported 5 _E. coli_ cases in all of 2010.
"Once we decide we've gotten to a significant case load and we suspect
there may be people out there who have the disease, we make the
decision to alert the public," said Dr. Dolores Gunn, the department's
director. "You do not want people who are positive (for _E. coli_)
thinking they have the stomach flu and don't need to follow up." Mercy
Hospital in Creve Coeur has treated 6 patients for the bacterial
A 25-year-old woman was released from Mercy Hospital on Thu 27 Oct
2011, after being admitted over the weekend. Doctors there told
Schuessler she had been infected with the _E. coli_ O157. Health
investigators initially thought that the woman, an elementary school
teacher, may have been sickened at work, she said. They later
interviewed her about what she had eaten in the past 7 to 10 days,
focusing on fruits and vegetables. County health officials visited her
home in University City and removed some produce including
strawberries and blueberries that she had purchased at the Schnucks at
Ladue Road and Interstate 170, she said.
The woman said she shopped at the store 16 Oct 2011 and made a salad
that she ate that day. She then ate more produce including
pre-packaged salad throughout last week.
The father of another infected patient said his daughter ate salads
twice last week that she bought at the Schnucks Culinaria store in
downtown St. Louis. He said he thought both of the salads were
prepackaged, purchased from the salad and deli section of the store.
Bell hopes his daughter will be released from the hospital in the
coming days but said, "She's not out of the woods yet."
[Byline: Blythe Bernhard, Paul Hampel and Patrick M. O'Connell]
[The pathogen has now been identified as serotype O157, the most
common serotype of the enterohemorrhagic pathotype. The pulling of
certain foods from a particular grocery store chain certainly suggests
an identified link and not just a "precautionary move."
We await for more information on this ongoing outbreak. - Mod. LL]
E. coli VTEC - USA (05): (NC) more cases 20111029.3222
E. coli VTEC - USA (04): (NC) more cases 20111027.3201
E. coli VTEC - USA (03): (MO) RFI 20111027.3195
E. coli VTEC - USA (02):(NC), possible fair link 20111027.3193
E. coli VTEC - USA: (NC) RFI 20111026.3184
E. coli O157 - USA (08): (WI) more cases 20111016.3101
E. coli O157 - USA (07): (WI) 20110915.2819
E. coli O157 - USA (06): (OR) strawberry, deer dropping source
E. coli O157 - USA (05): (PA) lake swimming 20110817.2493
E. coli O157 - USA (04): (PA) lake swimming 20110810.2428
E. coli O157 - USA (03): (OR) strawberry 20110809.2413
E. coli O157 - USA (02): (AL) water park 20110629.1981
E. coli O157 - USA: Lebanon bologna, alert, recall 20110325.0946
E. coli O157 - North America: hazelnut, alert, recall 20110310.0777
E. coli O157 - USA (07): cheese 20101105.4007
E. coli VTEC non-O157 - USA (07): O26, ground beef, alert, recall
E. coli O157 - USA (06): ground beef, alert, recall 20100809.2715
E. coli O157 - USA (05): (CO, NY), bison meat, alert, recall
E. coli O157 - USA (04): (MN) unpasteurized milk 20100607.1900
E. coli O157 - USA (03): (MN) unpasteurized milk 20100528.1776
E. coli O157 - USA (02): (WA), day care 20100413.1200
E. coli VTEC non-O157 - USA (02): (OH, MI, NY) O145 20100505.1460
E. coli VTEC non-O157 - USA: (MI, OH) 20100427.1358
E. coli O157 - USA: 2009, tenderized non-intact steak 20100108.0092]
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thereon, are not guaranteed. The reader assumes all risks in
using information posted or archived by ProMED-mail. ISID
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