Source of large E-coli outbreak will probably not be found says health department official

The largest O111 E-coli outbreak in U.S. history happened this past year in northeastern Oklahoma. In this outbreak, more than 300 people became ill after eating at the Country Cottage restaurant in Locust Grove. Locust Grove is about an hours drive from Tulsa. Now, five months later, scientists are saying they will probably never be able to pinpoint how the bacteria got into the restaurant reports The Tulsa World.

In this outbreak, of the 300 sickened, one man died and more than 70 people became so ill that they had to be hospitalized. The outbreak caused millions of pounds of beef products to be recalled, most distributed by Nebraska Beef, Ltd. The beef was recalled because it is often the source of E-coli infections along with leafy greens and unpasteurized dairy products and apple juice.

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Department of Health scientists have been pretty smart in tracking down the culprit in an E-coli outbreak. With advances in DNA testing, a single source of infection can often be identified. However in this case, the state epidemiologist for the Oklahoma State Department of Health, Dr. Kristy Bradley, says they believe they will never be able to pinpoint exactly how the bacteria got into the restaurant. She says, “We feel we did a very complete epidemiological investigation. We looked at numerous specimens from employees who had fallen ill to water to the food and environmental surfaces.”

E-coli O111 is a form of bacteria that is usually foodborne. It can cause mild illness in some including stomach cramping, fever and diarrhea. In others — especially the very young, the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions — the bacteria can be very serious leading to complications which can result in death.

This information is brought to you by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We have experience in representing people who have serious illness due to foodborne illness. In one case, we recovered over a million dollars for a young boy who contracted E-coli from a Washington fast food restaurant.

Contact The Farber Law Group for a free case evaluation.