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For Release: August 29, 2008
Contact: Larry Weatherford
Office of Communications

Situation Update No. 5
Outbreak of Severe Diarrheal Illness in Northeastern Oklahoma

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has notified the Oklahoma State Department of Health that it has identified E. coli 0111 from laboratory specimens CDC has analyzed as part of the ongoing investigation into the diarrheal illness outbreak in northeastern Oklahoma.
“This is a rare type of E. coli that is not normally found in an outbreak this large,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Kristy Bradley.

At least 116 persons have become ill as a result of the outbreak, including 87 adults and 29 children.

“While we believe we are seeing a downward curve in the number of people who have become ill, we still have many challenges with some patients who remain hospitalized,” Bradley said. “We continue to ask the public to be extra diligent in their hand washing and food preparation to minimize the possibility of additional persons becoming ill.”

The focus of the investigation has centered on the Country Cottage restaurant in Locust Grove, OK, after interviews with cases indicated most had eaten there during the time period of Aug. 15-23. The restaurant continues to remain closed while the outbreak investigation continues. A source has not yet been identified.

Bradley stressed that not all people who ate at the restaurant became ill. “If 10 or more days have passed since you ate at the restaurant, then you will likely not become ill. The incubation period from time of exposure to this type of bacteria to becoming ill is between two and 10 days.”
Even so, persons should contact their doctor if they are experiencing diarrhea, particularly bloody diarrhea, as well as vomiting, severe stomach cramps, and nausea.

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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