October 29, 2011
**UPDATED** Department of Health and Senior Services continues to assist in food borne illness investigation
Testing continues at the Missouri State Public Health Laboratory (SPHL) as part of the investigation of suspected food borne illness in the St. Louis region. The SPHL has received and begun testing 34 specimens reported to contain E. coli. While tests to definitively confirm a specific E. coli strain take several days, 18 of these specimens have tested positive for shiga toxin, a byproduct of E. coli. Testing of the other specimens is currently underway.
A team of DHSS epidemiologists, disease investigators and food safety experts is working in coordination with colleagues at the local and federal level to identify the cause of the reported illness.
Public health officials continue to urge anyone experiencing gastrointestinal symptoms, including severe stomach cramps, diarrhea or nausea, to seek medical attention.