The Oklahoma State Department of Health said today it has determined the need to interview additional persons as part of its ongoing investigation into the source of an E. coli 0111 outbreak in northeastern Oklahoma.
“In our efforts to establish if there is an association with particular food items and illness, we will be interviewing more persons to find those who ate at the Country Cottage and did not become ill,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Kristy Bradley. “In an investigation of this scope, it is as important to collect information on those who did not get sick as those who did become ill. We’ve determined that our statistical database does not adequately represent those who ate at the Country Cottage but did not become ill.”
Bradley said state health officials have identified about 320 persons not previously interviewed who ate at the Country Cottage Aug. 15-17, the days most persons who became ill ate at the restaurant. These newly identified persons will be contacted this weekend to see if they can recall what food items they ate and if they got sick afterward. “This information is necessary so that we can make the distinction between what might have been a popular food choice versus a valid association with illness,” Bradley explained.
The OSDH also announced today that it has invited officials from the Foodborne and Diarrheal Diseases Branch of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to Oklahoma to participate in the outbreak investigation.
“This outbreak is of great interest to CDC because it will add to knowledge on the range of disease that the E. coli 0111 organism can cause,” Bradley said. She said federal officials will conduct medical reviews to look at acute symptoms and complications of those who became sick due to the E. coli 0111 infection. They will also assist OSDH staff in telephone interviews.