The Ambassador E. coli O157:H7 outbreak was not Michigan’s first E. coli outbreak of 2011, though it may have been the last. 7 confirmed cases, all caused by a sick foodhandler, around Christmas time. 4 of the 7 cases required hospitalization.
Here are a few other E. coli outbreaks that struck Michigan residents in 2011:
Routine surveillance activities by health departments in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan identified seven E. coli O157:H7 cases with the same DNA fingerprint with onsets between December 20, 2010 and January 28, 2011. Three were identified in Wisconsin, three in Minnesota and one in Michigan. Investigations by health officials revealed an association between illnesses and eating of in-the-shell hazelnuts. Investigation by agriculture department officials in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan traced the source of the nuts for all seven individuals back to California producer wholesaler D. DeFranco & Sons.
On August 11, the Michigan Departments of Community Health (MDCH) and Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) issued a public health alert regarding E. coli O157:NM gastrointestinal illnesses linked to the consumption of ground beef from McNees Meats and Wholesale LLC, a meat-processing and retail establishment in North Branch, Michigan. A total of five confirmed Shiga-toxin producing E. coli O157:NM cases and four probable cases were reported in Lapeer, Genesee, Isabella, and Sanilac counties. Illness onset dates range from July 18-30. Those affected range in age from 15-88.
In October, E. coli O157:H7 sickened two children and one adult from mid-Michigan. The Mid-Michigan District Health Department said in a statement that both children from the Maple Rapids area were hospitalized as a result of their illnesses. The health department also said a third person from the area about 30 miles northwest of Lansing was recovering from an E. coli infection.