November 04, 2011

** Nov 4, 2011 UPDATE ** Department of Health and Senior Services updates status of investigation into E. coli outbreak in St. Louis region

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) is leading a team of local, federal, and state public health experts in investigating the cause of the E. coli outbreak that has hit the St. Louis region. The investigation involves laboratory analysis, environmental sampling and interviews of reported cases. This information is then combined to determine the possible cause(s) of the outbreak.

Numbers Update - October 7 to November 4

Number of Individuals confirmed to have E. coli connected to the St. Louis investigation: 25
Number of food samples, connected to the St. Louis outbreak, tested to date: 55
Number of food samples confirmed to have E. coli (testing final as to all but three samples): 0

Today lab results were finalized on one additional case that has the E. coli strain observed in the outbreak. That increases the total number of individuals confirmed to have E. coli connected to the St. Louis investigation from 24 to 25. Note that, as previously indicated, some individuals may be added to or removed from the count following further interview and analysis by the epidemiological team.

DHSS can also confirm that the four specimens previously sent from Boone County for E. coli testing have now been tested by the State Lab, and all four have tested positive for E. coli O157:H7. DHSS scientists are working with health officials in Boone County to investigate those cases in the same way that the St. Louis cases have been handled. At this point, it does not appear that the Boone County cases are connected to the St. Louis cases.

As the investigation progresses, the investigators are also providing updates to hospitals and health care professionals in the region. These updates include diagnosis and treatment recommendations.

Public health officials again urge consumers to always wash all produce thoroughly with water before eating, cook meat thoroughly, and always wash their hands after using the restroom. For additional food safety tips and more information on E. coli illness and investigation, visit

Public health officials continue to urge anyone experiencing gastrointestinal symptoms, including severe stomach cramps, diarrhea or nausea, to seek medical attention.