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Archive for Friday, July 26, 2002

E. coli case linked to recall of beef

July 26, 2002

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— The single Kansas case of an E. coli infection associated with the nationwide recall of contaminated beef issued by ConAgra Beef Co. is in Finney County, officials said.

Paula Fields, reportable disease nurse with the county's health department, said a case of E. coli was reported in the southwest Kansas county in the last couple of weeks.

Kansas Department of Health and Environment spokesman Mike Heideman said Tuesday that the agency still was investigating how the person had been infected, but said laboratory tests had confirmed the beef was among the 19 million pounds recalled.

"We know the genetic strains match, but in terms of the specific way they came in contact, that is still being investigated," Heideman said.

Heideman said state law prohibited the agency from identifying the person. ConAgra has said it would pay medical costs for E. coli victims sickened by the same bacteria strain as the recalled meat.

Dr. Gail Hansen, deputy state epidemiologist, said the state health department was looking at three other cases of E. coli in Kansas diagnosed in the last few weeks, but the Finney County case seemed to be the only one connected with ConAgra.

Two patients have had different results on the genetic test, she said, and the fourth, for which results are still pending, doesn't appear to be connected.

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