4ea95e724b982.preview-300.jpgAccording to the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch, Federal health investigators from the CDC landed in St. Louis Friday to help determine the source and scope of the E. coli outbreak that has so far sickened 23 people across the region.

Local hospitals started reporting E. coli infections on Monday in St. Louis and St. Louis, Jefferson, St. Charles and St. Clair counties.

St. Louis County health officials confirmed that the source of the E. coli O157 strain was food-borne, and there were signs that a local grocery chain may be involved. Schnucks stores across the region voluntarily replaced or removed some lettuce in salad bars, a company spokeswoman said.

Three of the infected people who have been contacted by the Post-Dispatch said they had recently eaten at salad bars from Schnucks stores in downtown St. Louis, Ladue and High Ridge.

Lindsay Schuessler, 25, has been hospitalized at Mercy since Saturday. Doctors there confirmed Schuessler was infected with the E. coli bacteria, her father said. County health officials visited Schuessler’s home in University City and removed some produce including strawberries that she had purchased at Schnucks, Rick Schuessler said.

James Bell, of Florissant, said his 23-year-old daughter, Jasmine, has been hospitalized since Saturday with what hospital and health officials told him was a confirmed E. coli case. Jasmine Bell started feeling sick during the middle of last week. Bell said his daughter ate salads twice last week that she bought at the Schnucks Culinaria store in downtown St. Louis. He said he thinks both of the salads were prepackaged, purchased from the salad and deli section of the store.