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Archive for Friday, October 5, 2007

E. coli inquiry clears frozen hamburgers as infection source

October 5, 2007

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— An outbreak of E. coli has sickened at least 10 people, including seven schoolchildren, and officials have ruled out school cafeteria food as a source.

All the people infected last month are linked in some way to Galena Elementary School in Floyds Knobs, a southern Indiana town about 15 miles northwest of Louisville, Ky. Three of the cases are not students.

Last week, Topps Meat Co. of Elizabeth, N.J., recalled 21.7 million pounds of frozen hamburgers because of possible E. coli contamination. But the problem in Galena was not related to any school cafeteria food, and the New Albany-Floyd County school district does not use Topps hamburger meat, district spokesman Dave Rarick said Thursday.

At least three of the cases appear to have been caused from exposure to a sick family member, the school district told parents in an online update Wednesday.

Galena Elementary has remained open since the first infection on Sept. 21, and officials say it has been cleaned regularly.

In addition to the 10 confirmed cases this week, health officials were still waiting on lab results for some other suspected infections.

Brian Rublein, spokesman for Kosair Children's Hospital in Louisville, said this week that seven children were hospitalized for E. coli infections.

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