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For Release: September 8, 2008
Contact: Leslea Bennett-Webb
Office of Communications

Situation Update No. 11
Outbreak of Severe Diarrheal Illness in Northeastern Oklahoma

The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) said today that its efforts to interview additional persons as part of its ongoing investigation into the source of an E. coli 0111 outbreak in northeastern Oklahoma resulted in an additional 310 interviews completed over the weekend with persons who ate at the Country Cottage restaurant in Locust Grove, OK.

“We appreciate the responsiveness of the public,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Kristy Bradley. “We are still seeking families who had children who ate at the restaurant Aug. 15-17. Most persons who became ill as a result of the outbreak ate at the restaurant on those dates and we need to make sure we have interviewed as many families as possible whose children also ate at the restaurant on those dates.” Bradley said those persons can call the OSDH at 1-800-990-2769 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. each day through this Friday, Sept. 12.

Bradley said the OSDH’s focus on interviews with those who became sick as well as those who did not after eating at the Country Cottage could assist in identifying the distinction between what might have been a popular food choice versus a valid association with food selection and illness.

The weekend interviews also generated the identification of dining companions not previously interviewed, thus those persons have been added to a list of at least 300 more people the OSDH will try to contact. So far more than 1,300 persons have been interviewed as part of the OSDH investigation. Three staff from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention assisted in the weekend interview process and are participating in epidemiological analysis of interview data.

In addition to studying the possible association of illness to specific food items, the OSDH has conducted environmental sampling of food preparation and serving surfaces at the restaurant, as well as some food sampling. Laboratory results are still pending on environmental and food samples.

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.”

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