In December 2009 the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) uploaded results of molecular testing by Pulsed Field Gel Electrophoresis (PFGE) of an E. coli O157:H7 isolate cultured from a patient stool specimen to PulseNet, a national database of molecular subtyping or “fingerprinting” of foodborne disease causing bacteria. The Minnesota isolate was assigned PulseNet 2-enzyme pattern designation EXHX01.0248/EXHA26.0569. PulseNet staff quickly identified 13 additional isolates in patients residing in 11 states.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state investigators identified 25 patients residing in 17 states (California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, and Washington) as being part of the outbreak. Illness onsets ranged from October 3, 2009 to January 31, 2010. Twelve patients were hospitalized, 1 developed Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome, and 1 patient, my client, Robert Danell, died. Of the 22 cases interviewed, 14 (64%) reported eating steak at a family-style restaurant. Among the 8 patients who did not report eating steak, 7 ate ground beef in multiple states, including Minnesota.
A settlement of Robert’s claim was reached today. A portion of the settlement will go to a St. Cloud school scholarship.