Published Date: 2007-07-25 14:00:08
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> E. coli O157, ground beef - USA (NY)
Archive Number: 20070725.2387
E. COLI O157, GROUND BEEF - USA (NEW YORK)
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Mon 23 Jul 2007
Source: Newsday (NY) [edited]
A total of 7 people in Suffolk County (NY) were sickened in recent
weeks after eating undercooked ground beef contaminated with _E.
coli_, county health officials said Mon 23 Jul 2007.
In one case, a visiting 8-year-old North Carolina girl was
hospitalized after her kidneys shut down, said Patricia Dillon,
director of communicable diseases for Suffolk's health department.
The girl remained hospitalized.
All the victims told health officials they ate hamburgers at home or
at backyard barbecues.
Officials said the meats were of different brands and were purchased
at several supermarkets, grocery stores, and local butcher shops
throughout the county. Test results identified the bacteria strain as
_E. coli_ O157, one of hundreds of strains of bacterium that cause
illness in humans, as the culprit [but one that can cause very
serious disease - Mod.LL].
"The common denominator we're finding is inadequately cooked ground
beef," Dillon said.
Analysis showed that 2 of Suffolk's cases matched cases reported in
Minnesota and California. A 3rd Suffolk case matched those reported
in Michigan. Dillon said the analysis showed that the meats that
sickened people [in Suffolk] were contaminated in the production
chain outside Suffolk. "The meats consumed by people in Suffolk,
California, and Minnesota all came from the same source of
contamination," Dillon said.
The men, women, and children who fell ill in Suffolk ranged in age
from 8 to 72, and reported symptoms such as diarrhea or bloody
diarrhea. All 7, who live in communities including Huntington and
Cutchogue, told health officials they consumed ground beef, generally
hamburgers, between 9 Jun and 3 Jul 2007.
A sample of ground beef eaten by the North Carolina girl and her
11-year-old friend, who also was sickened, tested positive for _E.
coli_ by federal officials from the United States Department of
Agriculture (USDA), said David Graham, chief deputy health
commissioner of the county health department.
"Since we haven't been able to prove where it's coming from or who
processed it, we're considering all ground beef to be dangerous,"
Graham said. He and other officials advised residents to cook all
ground meat thoroughly. It's safe to eat ground beef cooked at
temperatures of at least 160 deg F (71 deg C) or until no juice comes
out when patties are pressed, health officials said.
[Byline: Chau Lam]
[With the distribution of large lots of ground beef (and other foods)
as wide as it is in the USA, related cases of _E. coli_ O157 and
other foodborne pathogens often occur in widely spread out locations.
Suffolk County is located in eastern Long Island. It can be seen on a
map of New York State at
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suffolk_County,_New_York>. - Mod.LL]