The CDC has not updated its case summary since November 24, 2010, but it is likely that the final outbreak summary will include more than 38 confirmed cases.  What we know so far:  38 ill in five states, including 19 in Arizona, 3 in California, 3 in New Mexico, 2 in Nevada, and 11 confirmed cases in Boulder, Douglas, and Arapahoe counties Colorado.  All share a very rare–in fact, this was the first time it had been seen in the PulseNet database–strain of E. coli O157:H7.  At least 1 person has developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, or HUS.  The implicated product is Bravo Farms Dutch Style Gouda Cheese sold at Costco warehouse locations. 

With regard to the multi-state investigation that has occurred in the outbreak’s wake, laboratory testing conducted by the New Mexico Department of Health on an unopened (intact) package of the cheese identified E. coli O157:H7 matching the outbreak strain. This was the first confirmation from an unopened cheese sample, and is consistent with previous laboratory testing conducted on two opened packages of the Bravo Farms Dutch Style Gouda Cheese purchased at Costco, which also identified E. coli O157:H7 matching the outbreak strain. These opened packages were from two different case patients’ homes.

Tomorrow, we will file suit against Bravo Farms on behalf of a Colorado family (Douglas county) whose daughter was sickened by the recalled cheese.