October 27, 2011

Department of Health and Senior Services dispatches additional investigators as more food borne illness cases are reported

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) today, dispatched additional epidemiological investigators to continue assisting with the ongoing investigation of suspected food borne E. coli illnesses in the St. Louis County area. Scientists with the Federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention will arrive in the area within the next 48 hours.

Meanwhile, the State Public Health Laboratory has received and begun testing 16 specimens reported to contain E. coli. While tests to definitively confirm a specific E. coli strain takes several days, four of these specimens have already tested positive for shiga toxin, a byproduct of E. coli. Testing of the other specimens is currently underway.

Both the state and St. Louis County Health Departments have alerted medical providers in the area to be watching for possible E. coli cases. Health officials continue to urge anyone who is experiencing gastrointestinal symptoms, including severe stomach cramps, diarrhea or nausea, should seek medical attention.