As of two weeks ago, at least 21 isolates of E. coli O157:H7 with an indistinguishable genetic fingerprint have been collected from ill persons in 10 states: Illinois (1 person), Kentucky (3), Missouri (2), New York (2), Ohio (1), Pennsylvania (1), South Dakota (1), Tennessee (8), Virginia (1), and Wisconsin (1).
Persons became ill between July 20, 2007, and October 10, 2007. The age of ill persons ranges from 1 to 65 years with a median age of 9 – 53% of ill persons are female. At least 8 people have been hospitalized, and 4 have developed a type of kidney failure known as hemolytic-uremic syndrome, or HUS.
The Tennessee State Department of Health, working with CDC and health officials in several other states, coordinated a study to identify the source of these infections. Eating a Totino’s or Jeno’s brand frozen pizza-containing pepperoni was significantly associated with illness.
Since the announcement by the CDC and the recall by General Mills, we have been contacted by 16 people who believe that their illnesses are linked to consuming contaminated pizza. We are in the process of investigating those cases by ordering relevant medical records and health department records.
My favorite headline and quote is from the Trinidad Express:
If you have a Totino’s frozen pizza in your refrigerator, throw it out because it could be contaminated with a deadly strain of the E. coli bacteria.