Earlier today, the CDC posted the following update on the E. coli O157:H7 ground beef outbreak and recall on its website:
Several state health departments, CDC, and the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) are investigating a multi-state outbreak of Escherichia coli O157:H7 infections. On October 31, 2009, FSIS issued a notice about a recall of 545,699 pounds of beef products from Fairbank Farms that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7. Health officials in several states who were investigating a cluster of E. coli O157:H7 illnesses, with isolates that match by “DNA fingerprinting” analyses, found that most ill persons had consumed ground beef, with several purchasing the same or similar product from a common retail chain. At least some of the illnesses appear to be associated with products subject to these recalls. A sample from an opened package of ground beef recovered from a patient’s home was tested by the Massachusetts Department of Health and yielded an E. coli O157:H7 isolate that matched the patient isolates by DNA analysis.
The cluster includes twenty-eight persons from 12 states infected with matching strains of E. coli O157:H7. Of these, the genetic association of 7 human isolates and the product isolate have been confirmed by an advanced secondary DNA test ; secondary tests are pending on others. The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: California (1), Connecticut (4), Massachusetts (8), Maryland (1), Maine (2), Minnesota (1), New Hampshire (4), New Jersey (1), New York (1), Pennsylvania (2), South Dakota (2), and Vermont (1).