Investigation Continues In Aetna's E.
| The Hartford Courant
9:56 AM EDT, March 25, 2009
Aetna employees are answering a survey of
their recent eating habits as city and state health officials try to
determine what caused five people who work at the company's Hartford office
to be stricken with E. coli in the past three to four weeks.
Four employees have been hospitalized with E. Coli, and all have been
released. Officials initially said one person was hospitalized.
Company spokesman Fred Laberge said state Department of Public Health
officials requested that employees take the online survey, which was e-mailed
to them late Tuesday.
About 40 people who work at the Aetna cafeteria are being interviewed this
week, part of the detective work officials hope will lead to the source of
the contamination, said Martha Page, Hartford's environmental health director.
Compass Group operated the cafeteria, Laberge said.
The office has a cafeteria and a kiosk that serves prepared
food, but health officials have not determined that the contamination
occurred there. "We don't have an answer to that question yet, but that
is not unusual at this point," Page said.
The salad bar was closed Tuesday "as a precaution," Laberge said,
but he cafeteria remained open.
Despite several violations, the cafeteria passed its most recent inspection,
which was done March 12, according to city records. The kiosk was inspected
Feb. 26 and had enough violations that a reinspection was required, which it
passed March 12.
The most recent E. coli case occurred about a week ago, when an employee went
to the company's wellness center complaining of feeling ill. He was taken to
an emergency room and admitted to a hospital, but has since been released,
State officials notified Aetna on Monday of the E. coli cases, and the
company sent an e-mail to employees at noon, followed by another later in the
day, Laberge said.
The e-mails included information about E. coli, including recommended
treatments and how to avoid it.
"We're working closely with the city as well as the state Department of
Health," he said.