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Children recovering from E. coli contamination

May 10, 2007 |

Four local children remained hospitalized Wednesday and eight more continued to recover from symptoms linked to E. coli contamination.
After our story aired Tuesday night, we received several calls from viewers claiming to know where the 12 children became sickened.

A common thread is a restaurant in Bakersfield, but the Kern County Health Department will not reveal its location.

Health officials continued to say there is no immediate threat to the public and that is why the health department will not officially name the pizzeria.

Many parents want to know if there is a point of origin

Health Department Director Dr. B.A. Jinadu confirmed one of the places named as a spot where most of the children attended a party in late April is a popular local pizzeria.

"Until I really narrow down every aspect of the investigation, I cannot say that's exactly where they got it from but, yes, they were there and it's part of the things we are looking at," Jinadu said.

He said part of the process in uncovering the clues is sending out personnel who ask the necessary questions.

"We are waiting for various confirmation while our nurses are out there," said Jinadu. "They find out there talking to everybody, making sure that we narrow down the source."

Dr. Kaye Sykes is a Bakersfield pediatrician who has dealt with contagions like this one.

She said the contamination could have occurred between kids instead of the restaurant in question.

"Possibly one or two kids got this from one place and did hand it down to the other kid," Sykes said. "Health officials say they can't be sure of the source of the food borne illness at that particular pizza restaurant. But they do know that there were 12 kids at a pizza party, but there were also more kids at the restaurant on that day. The big question is how come more people haven't come down with symptoms since that time?"

Sykes said the investigation shouldn't be interpreted as finger pointing.

"It's simply trying to find where the system failed. Why, whatever it was, ever contaminated and how can we prevent it in the future," she said.

In the meantime, the health department urges simple prevention.

"Just wash hands and observe those basic sanitary hygiene we learned in kindergarten."

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