CDC Investigators compared the “DNA fingerprints” patterns of E. coli O157 strains found in ground beef with “DNA fingerprints” patterns of E. coli O157 strains isolated from ill persons. As of 12 PM (ET) October 5, 2007, 32 cases of E. coli O157:H7 infection have been identified with PFGE patterns that match at least one of the patterns of E. coli strains found in Topp’s brand frozen ground beef patties. Ill persons reside in 8 states [Connecticut (2), Florida (1), Indiana (1), Maine (1), New Jersey (7), New York (9), Ohio (1), and Pennsylvania (10)]. Twenty-one (91%) of 23 patients with a detailed food history consumed ground beef. Three illnesses have confirmed associations with recalled products because the strain isolated from the person was also isolated from the meat in their home. The first reported illness began on July 5, 2007, and the last began on September 15, 2007. Among twenty-three ill persons for whom hospitalization status is known, fifteen (65%) were hospitalized. One patient developed a type of kidney failure called hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS). No deaths have been reported. Fifteen (47%) patients are female. The ages of patients range from 1 to 77 years; 50% are between 15 and 24 years old (only 14% of the US population is in this age group).

A person from Kane County and another from Grundy County Illinois have confirmed cases of food poisoning, E. coli O157:H7, from frozen ground beef produced by Topps Meat Co. of New Jersey, the McHenry County Health Department said Friday. The two people became ill in early September. A ground beef sample from one of their houses is being tested at the Illinois Department of Public Health laboratory/

As I said to the Washington Post yesterday about the Topps Plant closing:

“It’s not like Topps didn’t have a chance to not have this problem in the first place, had they paid more attention to the lawsuit we filed against them in 2005,” said Marler.

While this was Topps’ first recall, two months ago it settled a lawsuit involving a 9-year-old girl who spent a month in the hospital after being sickened by tainted meat, said her attorney William Marler. Marler has filed suit on behalf of an eight-year-old who became sick in the latest recall and has 10 other potential clients.

By Renae Merle
The Washington Post