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Officials probe Rowan E. coli outbreak


Health officials in Cabarrus and Rowan counties are investigating an outbreak of E. coli bacteria infections among at least four people who ate late last month at a China Grove restaurant.

As of this morning, lab tests had confirmed the four cases, and nine more were considered probable cases and awaiting lab results. Several other possible cases are being investigated with the help of experts from the N.C. Division of Public Health and local hospitals, the Cabarrus Health Alliance said in a news release today.

Many of the people who have fallen ill ate at the Captain's Galley Restaurant, a seafood restaurant on South Main Street in China Grove between May 26 and 29, the release said. No illness has been reported from people who ate there after May 29, and officials have not found any obvious source of infection at the restaurant.

E. coli is a bacterium that in an infection targets the stomach and intestines, causing diarrhea, stomach pain, vomiting or some combination. Victims are usually infected through contaminated food or water. Infections can be severe, especially in children and the elderly, and can progress to fatal kidney failure if advanced and severe enough.

Health officials encourage anyone who has eaten at the Captain's Galley since May 26 and developed symptoms of E. coli to see a doctor immediately. For more information, call the Cabarrus Health Alliance at 704-920-1208 or the Rowan County Health Department at 704-216-8777.

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