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PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360
|Fred M. Jacobs, M.D., J.D.|
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Laboratory tests at the Department of Health and Senior Services have confirmed that 11 of 33 people with culture confirmed cases of E coli 0157 likely have the same strain of the disease.
Only one test result has been received confirming the presence of the H7 strain of the disease, which is far more serious and can result in kidney failure. The remaining test results on the H7 strain are pending.
The Department is investigating a total of 55 reports of illnesses in
Nearly 80 percent of the illnesses reported have involved eating at a Taco Bell franchise. The individuals reported getting sick between Nov. 9 and Dec. 6 and have an age range of 1-51 years.
“While our investigation is continuing, today’s results preliminarily link these 11 patients to the same strain of E coli,’’ said Department of Health and Senior Services Commissioner Fred M. Jacobs, M.D., J.D.
“This additional information provides more evidence that these cases may indeed be related,’’ Dr. Jacobs said.
Dr. Jacobs stressed that the food source that may be linked to this multi-state outbreak has yet to be identified.
Based on an announcement by Taco Bell Corp. on Dec. 6 that three samples of green onions were preliminarily positive, the Department yesterday recommended that all Taco Bells in
Additionally, the Department recommended that workers in Taco Bells with culture confirmed cases have stool samples taken and that food workers have enhanced training in proper food handling and hygiene.
Also today, the Department hosted a conference call with 90 local and county officials statewide to update them on the outbreak in
Department officials also had a conference call with Yum Foods, the parent company of Taco Bell, to update them on the Department investigation. Taco
E. coli is a bacteria that normally lives in the intestines of healthy people. Most strains of this bacteria are harmless. However, E. coli 0157:H7 is a specific strain that causes illness.
One of the 11 preliminarily linked cases involves an out of state resident.
Because this is a multi-state outbreak, including
Eight of the 11 preliminarily linked cases meet the CDC case definition of a confirmed case. Illness onset for these 8 cases is Nov. 20 to Nov. 25 and the age range is 4 to 37 years. Of the remaining three, one has no history of eating at Taco Bell and two have no food histories, including a
On average, symptoms of E. coli 0157: H7 occur three days after swallowing the bacteria, but can range from two to 10 days. Symptoms of E. coli 0157: H7 vary from person to person. Some people have no symptoms (asymptomatic) and others have mild to severe diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea and vomiting. If a person has diarrheal illness (three or more loose/bloody/watery stools within 24 hours) and ate at a Taco Bell restaurant within seven days before becoming ill, they should contact their healthcare provider.
Department of Health
P. O. Box 360, Trenton, NJ 08625-0360