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Minnesota Department of Health investigating Longville area E. coli outbreak

15 cases of E. coli infection have been reported in the Longville area to the Minnesota Department of Health, according to The Pilot-Independent.

Of those, four people tested positive for the E. coli strain O157:H7. As of Friday, at least two people were hospitalized in what MDH spokesperson Doug Schultz termed as a "relatively serious condition."

MDH has determined that most, but not all of the cases have an association with a July 19 potluck at Salem Lutheran Church in Longville. At least three individuals did not attend the potluck.

"We are still investigating a number of other events and are looking at other possibilities," Schultz stated. "It may be that we won’t be able to determine a single source. We just want to make sure there isn’t a source out there that would pose an ongoing public health risk."

Pastor John Monson of Salem Lutheran Church said MDH is still conducting interviews to determine common links for the outbreak.

"Our congregation is concerned about the health of our community and is doing whatever possible to assist the MDH in their research," Monson stressed. "Since the MDH inquiry is ongoing, we can only wait for their conclusions and hope that their discoveries may help prevent future outbreaks.

Just to be on the safe side, Salem Lutheran Church decided to cancel its August smorgasbord, had its water supply checked, and its food service area double-checked.

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