Georgia E. Coli Tied to Nebraska Beef, Outbreak Now Confirmed in Six StatesJul 17, 2008 | Parker Waichman LLP
Finally, the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are citing a Colquitt County, Georgia case as part of the multi-state E. coli 0157 outbreak linked to beef. This is not a new case,” Southwest Georgia Public Health District Health Director Jacqueline Grant said. “What is new is that the CDC has now determined that it fit their case definition for the outbreak that began in Michigan and Ohio.”
The CDC included New York, Kentucky, and Indiana in the states hit by this latest E. coli outbreak this week after it discovered each state had a lab-confirmed case that matched the clusters in Michigan and Ohio that had been traced to beef sold in Kroger supermarkets and processed by Nebraska Beef. With Georgia, six states are now linked to the outbreak. “The number of lab-confirmed E. coli cases associated with the Colquitt County outbreak remains at eight, with four presumed cases,” Grant said. “That number has not changed. The lab-confirmed cases are undergoing additional testing to determine whether they also match the multi-state case definition. Testing results are expected later this week.”
The Colquitt County cases are the only cases related to the national outbreak found in Georgia by disease investigators, Grant said. All confirmed and presumed cases involve people who ate at the Barbecue Pit in Moultrie from mid-June through July 3. On July 3, the Barbeque Pit voluntarily closed while investigators searched for the source of the illness. Grant said the break in the investigation occurred when bacteria in one of the confirmed cases matched the strain of E. coli in the disease outbreak in Michigan and Ohio. “That match led our team to take a closer look at beef at the Barbecue Pit,” Grant said. “We learned it had recently began purchasing meat from a new distributor, which told them it had acquired beef from Nebraska Beef, which had supplied the beef linked to the Ohio and Michigan outbreak. We had been awaiting official confirmation that the Colquitt County outbreak was part of the bigger outbreak, and now we have it.”
“At this point in the investigation, we cannot estimate how long before the Barbecue Pit can reopen,” Grant said. “While our main concern is preventing the disease from spreading and protecting the health of the community, we are certainly also committed to helping the restaurant get disinfected and back to business as soon as possible.”
Earlier this week, Grant said disease investigators reported that the number of new patients seeking treatment for E. coli and E coli-like symptoms had slowed at Colquitt Regional Medical Center and area healthcare providers. It can take as long as 10 days before people exposed to E. coli begin having symptoms.
Forty-five people have been sickened and 21 hospitalized, with one person developing kidney failure in this ongoing E. coli outbreak. A woman who fell ill after eating beef she bought at a Kroger store in Dublin, Ohio, has filed a lawsuit against Kroger.