E. Coli Source Found
Food inspectors located what prompted an E. Coli outbreak that hit 10 states, including local Schnucks grocery stores, and put dozens of people in the hospital.
The E. Coli outbreak that surfaced recently in St. Louis County is over, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention named infected Romaine lettuce as the culprit.
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The lettuce, which came from a single, unidentified farm, was contaminated before being served in nine Schnucks grocery stores, sickening 37 people in Missouri. The Food and Drug Administration did not find the E. Coli strain at the farm—which they refused to identify without definitive proof of infection—but the farm has since shut down operations, according to food industry news site The Packer.
The news that Romaine was the source seemed confusing as CDC officials previously had announced tests on lettuce from Schnucks salad bars were negative for E. Coli. However, statistical analysis shows those who reported E. Coli symptoms were "significantly more likely" than well persons to report eating Romaine lettuce, according to the CDC.
A St. Louis County woman has sued Schnucks after her E. Coli infection caused kidney failure, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Mary Kozlowski spent 11 days out of Mercy Hospital's intensive care unit with kidney failure, a blood clot in her lung and atrial fibrillation, the Post-Dispatch reported. Her kidney damage is permanent.
The threat of infection appears to be over, according to health officials, and CDC representatives said residents do not need to avoid lettuce.
Overall, the outbreak infected 60 people in 10 states, including Missouri, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota and Nebraska.