|Michael F. Easley
For Release: IMMEDIATE
|Contact: Debbie Crane|
Two Children Sickened By E-coli Strain Associated With Recent Recall:
Consumers Urged to Check Freezers for Contaminated Beef
RALEIGH – The State Laboratory of Public Health has confirmed that two North Carolina children were infected with E. coli O15:H7 bacterium, which had the same DNA fingerprint as that found in E. coli infections that have been linked to ground beef patties manufactured by Cargill and sold through Sam's Club. Public health officials say that consumers need to check their freezers to make sure they don’t have any of the contaminated beef, which has been recalled.
“If you have frozen ground beef patties, check to see if they are part of the recall; if they are, then throw them away or return them to the store,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Jeff Engel (print quality photo of Dr. Engel). “Anytime you cook hamburger, always make sure to cook it until it is no longer pink and the juice runs clear.”
The two children – a 10-year-old from Durham County and a 14-year-old from Orange County attended a cookout on September 15. Food served at the cookout included grilled hamburgers. The children experienced bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps beginning on September 18. Neither child developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which is a serious complication that can result from E. coli 0157:H7 infection and both have recovered. No other cases of E.coli infection associated with the picnic have been diagnosed.
Officials say it is likely that the infections were caused by the now-recalled product, because stool samples from the infected children had the same DNA fingerprint as those found in contaminated beef from other cases associated with the recall. Although no ground beef from the cookout was available for testing, people who bought the ground beef for the Orange County cookout said that they had purchased the ground beef from the Durham Sam’s Club on September 14.
The Orange County Health Department investigated the incident. Public health officials note that the onset of E. coli infection occurs within two to 10 days after infection, with most cases showing up within three to five days. No new cases are expected as a result of the ground beef consumed at this cookout.
In addition to checking to see whether consumers have the contaminated product, public health officials say consumers should take precautions to avoid contaminating other foods with any E. coli bacteria that may be present in the meat by:
On October 6, Cargill recalled 844,812 pounds of frozen ground beef patties after an investigation by Minnesota authorities. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) found that four cases of illness were caused by E. coli O157:H7 with the same DNA fingerprint. All of those infected had eaten ground beef patties purchased at Sam’s Club stores in the Twin Cities metro area. The brand name of the implicated frozen ground beef patties was “American Chef’s Selection Angus Beef Patties.” Sam’s Club has pulled American Chef’s Selection Angus Frozen Ground Beef Patties from all of their stores.
The products subject to the recall were produced on Aug. 9, 10, 15, 16 and 17, 2007, and were distributed nationwide. Each package bears the establishment number “Est. 924A” inside the USDA mark of inspection. The products include:
Products distributed via retail and subject to recall are:
Products distributed to restaurants and institutions and subject to recall include:
Symptoms of E. coli O157:H7 illness include stomach cramps, which can be severe, and diarrhea. Diarrhea begins as loose, watery stools, with stools often turning bloody within 1-3 days. E. coli O157:H7 disease sometimes leads to HUS, which can include kidney failure. People typically become ill two to five days after eating contaminated food. E. coli infection should not be treated with antibiotics, which can cause additional complications.
People who have developed those symptoms after consuming this product should contact their physician.
Consumers with questions about the recall should contact the company’s food safety line at 866-567-7899. Media with questions should contact the company’s media representative, Mark Klein, at 952-742-6211.
|Public Affairs Office
101 Blair Drive, Raleigh, NC 27603