Cedar Falls, IA — Officials in Cedar Falls, Iowa say an E. coli outbreak at the Taco Johns has made more than two dozen people sick with at least 14 hospitalized.  This after Taco Bell pulled green onions from thousands of its restaurants after people in several states were sickened by E. coli. And two and a half months ago, California spinach tainted with E. coli killed 3 and made 200 others sick.

UPDATED – 12-11-06

Minneosta officials investigating possible E.coli outbreak in Albert Lea

Associated Press – WASHINGTON – Three dozen people have fallen ill with symptoms consistent with E. coli infection after eating at a Taco John’s restaurant in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Minnesota officials are also investigating, after patients there also reported similar symptoms.

There is no indication the illnesses are linked, but the Centers for Disease Control has not ruled out a connection, said Dr. Christopher Braden, a medical epidemiologist with the agency. Iowa officials suspect a sick restaurant worker could have spread the illness.

Health care providers in the southern Minnesota cities of Albert Lea and Austin reported an increase in patients with possible E. coli symptoms, the state Health Department said Monday. Some patients tested positive for E. coli at clinical labs, but the state was still conducting tests to confirm the existence of E. coli.

Interviews with three of those Minnesota patients indicated they ate at Taco John’s restaurant in Albert Lea sometime between Nov. 30 and Dec. 2.