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The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) reports today that laboratory analysis of water samples taken from a private well on the property of the Country Cottage restaurant in Locust Grove, Okla., has found no disease-causing bacteria. The restaurant has been associated with a large E. coli 0111 outbreak in northeastern Oklahoma.
“The well water is not the source of this outbreak,” said state epidemiologist Dr. Kristy Bradley. “We are continuing our efforts to conduct microbiological testing of food preparation and serving surfaces in the restaurant, and we continue to interview cases, as we try to establish an association with those who became ill and a potential source.”
At least 206 persons are sick as a result of the outbreak including 149 adults, 53 children, and four whose ages have not yet been confirmed. Cases range in age from 2 months to 88 years. One person has died.
“This appears to be the largest E. coli 0111 outbreak ever reported in the U.S.,” Bradley stated. “The complexity of this outbreak and the necessity to be extremely thorough in our investigation means we still have more questions than answers.”
OSDH disease investigators, along with staff from Tulsa Health Department and area local county health departments, have interviewed more than 500 persons in an effort to identify the source of the outbreak.
The restaurant is closed while the investigation continues. Not all persons who ate at the restaurant have become ill. No other restaurant or food service outlet in the area has been linked to the outbreak.
Where available in northeastern Oklahoma, the public may call 2-1-1 for more information about the outbreak. Additional information is also on the Oklahoma State Department of Health’s Web site at www.health.ok.gov. Click on “Current Features: Severe Diarrheal Illness Outbreak."