Yet another E. coli victim has been confirmed in Tennessee today, bringing the total number of recent cases in the state to 11. There may still be more cases announced shortly as Tennessee health officials are waiting for test results on 3 additional probable cases. The health department is continuing its investigation into the cause of the recent illnesses, but so far no source been identified. The cases are spread across Northeast Tennessee among 8 counties.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that every year at least 2000 Americans are hospitalized, and about 60 die as a direct result of E. coli infection and its complications. A recent study estimated the annual cost of E. coli O157:H7 illnesses to be $405 million (in 2003 dollars), which included $370 million for premature deaths, $30 million for medical care, and $5 million for lost productivity. For more on E. coli, click HERE.