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3 more residents of city suspected to have E. coli

Total now 12; included is one confirmed incident involving Island woman

Dec 12, 2006 | Staten Island Advance

Three more city residents have come down with suspected cases of E. coli infection after eating at Taco Bell restaurants, the city Health Department said yesterday, bringing the total to 12 suspected cases and one confirmed case that of a Staten Island woman.

The Islander who got sick reported eating at an unidentified Taco Bell before going to a hospital on Nov. 24. She was treated and released, and has made a full recovery, the department said.

The restaurant where she ate has been sanitized and all produce removed, health officials said.

The department previously reported inspecting a Taco Bell restaurant on Staten Island, although it did not disclose which one. It's unclear whether that is the restaurant in which the woman ate.

Health officials said the Island restaurant did not have any major food safety violations, nor did it have on the premises any green scallions, a vegetable that has been linked to the outbreak.

As of yesterday, neither of Staten Island's two hospitals reported having treated any confirmed or suspected cases of E. coli infection.

The current E. coli outbreak, which has been associated with Taco Bell restaurants in five states, has affected 64 people, including 22 in New York and 28 in New Jersey, according to a report updated yesterday by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

E. coli is a bacteria that causes diarrhea that is often bloody and accompanied by intense abdominal cramps. It can lead to kidney failure.

It typically takes two to eight days for people to develop symptoms after being exposed to the bacteria.

Eating undercooked or contaminated beef is the most common cause of E. coli-induced illness, but people have also gotten sick from eating fresh vegetables, such as the bagged spinach that earlier this year caused a nationwide outbreak.

While fruits and vegetables should all be washed before consumption, washing does not always remove E. coli bacteria. Only cooking food thoroughly will remove the bacteria's threat.


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