The Toledo-Lucas County Health Department today confirmed that there are three cases in Lucas County that are linked to a Michigan-based E. coli outbreak. A fourth Lucas County resident, a 17-year-old male, is suspected of also having E. coli and undergoing tests, said Health Commissioner David Grossman.
A total of seven cases have already been confirmed in Michigan, Dr. Grossman said during a news conference at the health department today.
“This bacteria is particularly dangerous,” Dr. Grossman said, because the infection is a rare type of E. coli known as hemolytic-uremic syndrome, a disorder that usually occurs when an infection in the digestive system produces toxic substances that destroy red blood cells and can cause severe, even permanent kidney damage.
Health officials would not release the names of the Lucas County residents affected, but did disclose their ages: 19, 23 and 42. The 19- and 23-year-old ate at the same restaurant, which health officials have visited and investigated already.
“We didn’t find anything; there were no violations,” Dr. Grossman said.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is investigating, is now focusing its attention on Wolverine Packaging Co., a Detroit-based business that distributed the ground beef believed to be affected. The company today began recalling about 1.8 million pounds of ground beef products it sold for restaurant use in four states that may be contaminated with E. coli bacteria.
The products were produced between March 31 and April 18 and were shipped to distributors in Michigan, Ohio, Massachusetts and Missouri.
Similar cases of the E. coli outbreak have also been reported in Missouri and Massachusetts, according to Dr. Grossman.
The products bear the establishment number “EST. 2574B” and will have a production date code in the format “Packing Nos: MM DD 14” between “03 31 14” and “04 18 14.”
E. coli can cause severe cramps, nausea, and diarrhea, as well as other complications.
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