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30 Cases in St. Louis E. Coli Outbreak

An outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 in the St. Louis area now includes 30 confirmed cases, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS).

And the investigation into the cause of the outbreak is no closer to finding where the E. coli O157:H7 is coming from.

Two of four E.coli cases involving residents of the Columbia/Boone County area 125 miles west of St. Louis are believed to be part of the larger outbreak, while two others are not.  A fifth person with E. coli-like symptoms in Boone County tested negative for the bacteria.

The lead agency in the federal, state and local investigation into the cause of the St. Louis E. coli outbreak late Monday said it added “two new cases based on lab results from specimens submitted to the State Public Health Laboratory last week.”

DHSS said the two cases have the E coli fingerprint that has been observed in the outbreak.   The St. Louis outbreak may have topped out with the two cases.

“There are no other specimens at the State Lab believed to be connected to the outbreak on which testing is pending,” DHSS said in its daily media update.

The Missouri State Lab also has tested 55 food samples, mostly from the salad bars at the popular St. Louis-based Schnucks grocery stores, where many who became ill reported dining before they became ill.

All food samples tested to date, however, were found negative E. coli O157:H7.

The St. Louis outbreak has been underway since late October, and sent at least 22 to hospitals for treatment and resulted in one case of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).

Investigation into the St. Louis outbreak is being assisted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local health departments.

North Carolina is also continuing to investigate an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak with as many as  24 cases where some activity at the state fair is suspected as the source. The first illnesses in North Carolina were reported on about Oc.t 15.

Meanwhile, there is a new E. coli outbreak at the Arapahoe County Jail in Colorado.  Six inmates have been confirmed as E. coli cases and 14 others have symptoms.

The jail has transferred an inmate to a nearby hospital for treatment of dehydration.

Sheriff Grayson Robinson said jail personnel acted quickly to stem the spread of the outbreak among the jail population. 

The jail’s Pod 3, the housing unit affected, is now isolated from the rest of the facility and the Tri-County Health Department has been brought in to assist.

Arapahoe County is part of the Denver metropolitan area.

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