A multistate outbreak of Escherichia coli O157: H7 infection linked to consumption of beef tacos at a fast-food restaurant chain

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

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43 Scopus citations

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Volume39
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology

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    Jay-Russell, M. T., Garrett, V., Mohle-Boetani, J. C., Barros, M., Farrar, J. A., Rios, R., Abbott, S., Sowadsky, R., Komatsu, K., Mandrell, R., Sobel, J., & Werner, S. B. (2004). A multistate outbreak of Escherichia coli O157: H7 infection linked to consumption of beef tacos at a fast-food restaurant chain. Clinical Infectious Diseases, 39(1), 1-7. https://doi.org/10.1086/421088