A report today confirms the link of two E. coli O26 infections in Maine to the Cargill outbreak and recall.

The Maine CDC has identified two adults with a matching strain of E. coli O26. The date of onset of illness for the two patients, who live in Androscoggin and Oxford counties, was July 8 and July 16. Both patients prepared and consumed ground beef. One patient in New York State also matches this strain of E. coli O26. The patient in New York also had exposure to ground beef.

The ground beef involved was distributed by Cargill Meat Solutions, and sold at BJ’s Wholesale Club stores in Maine. 

The product involved in the recall:

42-pound cases of "Ground Beef Fine 90/10," containing three approximately 14-pound chubs each. These products have a "use/freeze by" date of "07/01/10" and an identifying product code of "W69032."

E. coli O126 is a strain of Escherichia coli that produces a toxin (shiga-toxin) that causes illness in humans.  E. coli O126 is not currently regulated by USDA, although Bill Marler and Marler Clark are pushing the agency to do so.  The bacteria causes the same type of illness, including the risk for HUS, as the more well known E. coli O157:H7.