Journal Article

A Multistate Outbreak of <i>Escherichia coli</i> O157:H7 Infection Linked to Consumption of Beef Tacos at a Fast-Food Restaurant Chain

Michele T. Jay, Valerie Garrett, Janet C. Mohle-Boetani, Myra Barros, Jeff A. Farrar, Richard Rios, Sharon Abbott, Rick Sowadsky, Ken Komatsu, Robert Mandrell, Jeremy Sobel and S. Benson Werner

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 39, issue 1, pages 1-7
Published in print July 2004 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online July 2004 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1086/421088
A Multistate Outbreak of Escherichia coli O157:H7 Infection Linked to Consumption of Beef Tacos at a Fast-Food Restaurant Chain

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We investigated a multistate outbreak of Escherichia coli O157:H7 infections. Isolates from 13 case patients from California, Nevada, and Arizona were matched by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis subtyping. Five case patients (38%) were hospitalized, and 3 (23%) developed hemolytic uremic syndrome; none died. The median age was 12 years (range, 2–75 years), and 10 (77%) were female. Case-control studies found an association between illness and eating beef tacos at a national Mexican-style fast-food restaurant chain (88% of cases versus 38% of controls; matched OR, undefined; 95% confidence interval, 1.49 to infinity; P = .009). A traceback investigation implicated an upstream supplier of beef, but a farm investigation was not possible. This outbreak illustrates the value of employing hospital laboratory-based surveillance to detect local clusters of infections and the effectiveness of using molecular subtyping to identify geographically dispersed outbreaks. The outbreak investigation also highlights the need for a more efficient tracking system for food products.

Journal Article.  3957 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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