Press Release – E.Coli Culprit – Lettuce

26 09 2008

From a press release……..

Many of Michigan’s E. coli Cases Linked to Lettuce
Genetically linked cases consumed lettuce from wholesale distributor

Lansing – As a precautionary measure, the Michigan Department
of Community Health (MDCH) is issuing a public health alert due to
illnesses from the 26 cases of E. coli strain O157:H7 that are thought
to be associated with bagged, industrial-sized packages of iceberg
lettuce sold through wholesale venues to restaurants and institutions.

There is no evidence that the bagged lettuce at grocery stores is
affected.

Some of the 26 Michigan cases consumed shredded or chopped iceberg
lettuce in restaurants or institutions purchased from Aunt Mid’s
Produce Company, a Detroit-based wholesale distributor; and other
distributing outlets could be identified. Product trace back and
additional tests results are still in progress.

“Our top priority at the Michigan Department of Community Health
is to protect the public,” said Dr. Gregory Holzman, chief medical
executive for MDCH. “We appreciate all of the assistance from Aunt
Mid’s. They have been very helpful in this investigation. We want to
ensure that the public’s health and well-being is protected. Even
though the investigation is ongoing, available evidence is strongly
pointing to iceberg lettuce.”

The 26 genetically linked cases are present in eight Michigan
counties including seven at Michigan State University (Ingham County),
five inmates at the Lenawee County Jail, three students at the
University of Michigan (Washtenaw County), four in Macomb County, three
each in Wayne, two in Kent counties, and one each in St. Clair and
Oakland counties. Of the E. coli O157:H7 cases that are genetically
linked, 10 have been hospitalized. These linked cases range in age from
11 to 81 years old. Symptoms of these confirmed genetically linked E.
coli patients began on Sept. 8. More confirmed cases could surface as
the investigation continues.

The symptoms of E. coli O157:H7 may include severe stomach cramps,
diarrhea (often bloody), and vomiting. If there is fever, it usually is
not very high (less than 101 F/less than 38.5 C). Most people get better
within 5-7 days. Some infections are very mild, but others are severe
or even life-threatening.

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